#097 Olga and Serhii: An FASD Family on the Front Lines in Ukraine

fasd success show Feb 25, 2022

Content Warning: While Olga and Serhii are positive in their resolve and for their future, this interview deals with the current war in Ukraine. 

We realize we are living in very significant times. Today we’ve been invaded by our northern barbarian neighbours. Kyiv is being bombed. Soldiers are dying. They are invading from all sides. That’s the stage we are going through. Ukrainians are tough and we are going to resist. We are Ukraine. We are strong and we will protect ourselves. 

Who has not been transfixed by what is happening in Ukraine? Olga Bolshova, an alumnus of my CKS Coaching Program has been very active in setting up FASD programs in Ukraine.

So much dedication, that last night when they knew they could wait no longer, they put their safety plan in place to leave their home. Serhii reported they had to wait though until Olga finished the FASD diagnostic webinar she had organized for doctors. How surreal is that?  

With so many...

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#096 Alex Duthie: Humor Through Hard FASD Times

fasd success show Feb 19, 2022


If you are a member of my private online Facebook Group, you know it’s not my group. The group belongs to my guest today, who has become famous for his “wee chuckles” – Alex Duthie. 

People can come on, ask for info, advice, tell stories, or a good old vent. It’s like a 4,000 strong family. There’s no judgement. We just get on with it. 

Alex and his wife Sylvia have 6 bio children between them and fostered 2 boys with FASD. We talk about how they arrived at the fostering journey as well as: 

  • The challenges and strengths of Liam and Sean. 
  • How their caregiving changed after FASD training, their lightbulb moments and advice for other parents and caregivers. 
  • What Alex gives and receives from the group. 

Many posts make me cry. It’s heartbreaking. If I can just help to make someone forget just for one minute, just by giving them a smile, that has made my day. 

I also get the details...

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#095 (DiG)ging into FASD & Genetics

fasd success show Feb 12, 2022

Join me and my co-host, Barb Clark, as we talk with Abigail Erickson, Dr. Leah Wetherill, and Jeanine Schulze, part of DiG FASD, a fetal alcohol research study at the Indiana University School of Medicine about FASD and Genetics.

Interestingly, kids with FASD get referred to geneticists yet there isn’t a specific genetic test for FASD. But geneticists are trained in ‘syndromes’ and those are health issues that have multiple things going on. They take all those puzzles pieces and put them together to identify what is going on. 

DiG FASD stands for “Dissecting the Genetic Contributions to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.” FASD is a Spectrum. The research team says that by understanding how genes make FASD different, they hope to discover and improve treatments and interventions. If you might be confused about genetics, don’t worry, I got you covered. We break it down for you: 

  • What genes are and how prenatal alcohol...
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#094 Pascal Gagné: FASD and Sexuality

fasd success show Feb 05, 2022

Few topics can divide people or make them so uncomfortable that they don’t talk about them. Sexuality is one of them. It is so stigmatized. It isn’t talked about enough. Ignoring the reality won’t make it go away, says PascalGagné, my guest on today’s show.  

Given that inappropriate sexual behavior (ISB) is displayed by 45-52% of adults with FASD, and can present issues that split families up, this is a topic caregivers should pay as much attention to as other important life skills. 

Pascal Gagné is the FASD Team Lead at Health Nexus (Ontario, Canada). He oversees the provincial FASD initiatives. Before this position, Pascal was the FASD Research Lead at ABLE2 (Ottawa). He also teaches classes at various universities and colleges.  

A lot of people with FASD need things to be explained to them multiple times before they understand, and so they can process the...

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#093 The Story Behind The Study

fasd success show Jan 29, 2022
The first prevalence study on FASD in the U.K. was released late last year. Today we go behind the scenes with two of the team Professor Penny Cook and Robyn McCarthy.
The Study Team. Pictured: Dr. Alan Price, Professor Penny Cook, Robyn McCarthy, and David Gilbert. Not picture Dr. Raja Mukherjee. 
When I was pregnant the formal advice was it’s probably safer not to drink but there’s no evidence there’s the harm if you just drink one or two small drinks a week.

We are diving deep to learn about how the study came about as well as:  

  • The different messages women have received in the past about drinking and pregnancy and that some are still receiving today. 
  • The process of finding funding, how participants are selected and some barriers the researchers faced. 
  • Reactions of potential funders, parents, and the reactions to the Study results. 

While this was a preliminary study based on children...

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#092 Dan Dubovsky: Best Tips for Advocacy, Self Care and Arguing

fasd success show Jan 22, 2022


Today’s guest likely needs no introduction, as he has been a fixture and looked up to as an expert, sharing his story, teaching, and advocating in the FASD world for 35 years – but it wasn’t always that way. Dan Dubovsky couldn’t even get 12 people to attend his first professional course on FASD. But that didn’t stop him. I’m also excited he agreed to be on the show as he is one of the FASD pioneers that I have looked up to and learned from. Today I am sure you will learn and be inspired by him (if you haven’t already). 

Dan has worked for over 40 years in the field of behavioral health as a direct care worker in residential treatment and a therapist in residential and outpatient settings as well as an oncology social worker and Instructor in Psychiatry. He has written and taught courses on child and adolescent development, loss...

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#091 Danna Ormstrup: Helping Schools Understand Your Kids And FASD

fasd success show Jan 15, 2022
Are you a parent or a teacher? Work with or support students or learners? Looking for ideas and best practices on how to help individuals with FASD? Following aggression, school is one of the most talked-about challenges caregivers ask for support or advice. When I heard about the return of a special FASD education program in Alberta, I reached out to my friend Danna Ormstrup, Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society and an FASD Instructional Coach with the Wrap2FASD program. 
Danna is the Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society and an FASD Instructional Coach with the Wrap2FASD program. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and attended Mount Royal University for Recreation. Her career includes working with moms, serving as a teaching assistant, and managing an agency that supported adults with Developmental Disabilities. Danna has a deep belief that empathy can encourage us to be creative effective...
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#090 Dr. Peter Choate: Trauma, FASD and Prevention

fasd success show Jan 08, 2022
You know me. I’m a geek at heart. And I always say although I do know a lot about FASD, I’m not a doctor, a social worker, or a lawyer. That’s why I’m excited to bring you Dr. Peter Choate, a social worker, who has influenced my work. I must admit I was a bit nervous, but Peter started off the interview with a dad joke and I knew we were on our way to a great conversation. 

Peter W. Choate, MSW, RCSW, PhD, PhD is Professor, Social Work, Program Coordinator, Member and Supervisor, Clinical Registry, Alberta College of Social Workers. Peter’s teaching focuses on assessment issues in social work, including families, as well as child and adolescent mental health. He has served for 5 years as the Field Director for the First- and Second-Year Practicum Program and is now the Program Coordinator. Peter is an expert witness in social work with sub-specialties in the areas of  social work case management,...

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FASD Holiday Hints

fasd success show Dec 08, 2021

A caregiver in our private Facebook Group asked: Am I the only one seriously considering cancelling Christmas?

We know this time of year can be challenging. So, if you feel like cancelling Christmas, or want to reduce meltdowns or overload, check out these top 8 ideas or hints for the holidays suggested by other caregivers:

  1. Change (or adjust) your expectations.
  2. Create new traditions that suit your family.
  3. Keep routines. No late nights. No junk food. No increase in screen time.
  4. Vary gift-giving, opening and displaying throughout the month.
  5. Fewer decorations, fewer activities, and more downtime.
  6. Limit access to all the marketing and advertising.
  7. Stop celebrating Christmas completely or switch traditions, to simpler ones such as Solstice.
  8. Pull your kids close and give them lots of cuddles and hugs.

We know there are times when you will want to decorate, engage in activities or visit family or friends. Some additional ideas that may help:

  1. Ask your child what they want or...
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#089 Laurie Whyte: The Value of Vulnerability

fasd success show Nov 27, 2021

There are caregivers all around the world quietly or not so quietly going about their day-to-day. Occasionally, I see someone who is doing incredible work in their community and I want to dig a little deeper to find their lessons and ideas I can share with others. Laurie Whyte is one of those caregivers.  

Laurie Whyte has been active in the world of Fetal Alcohol SpectrumDisorder for over 15 years. As a parent of 2 teenagers with FASD as well as a community advocate and trainer, she offers a unique perspective in helping others understand FASD. By sharing real-life examples, the latest research, and best practices Laurie speaks openly about the emotional journey of many caregivers of those with FASD while providing hope and inspiration. She offers dynamic and practical training in hopes of bringing professionals and caregivers together to serve individuals with FASD compassionately. 


I learned to ask for help. I have never hidden...

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