#107 Candid Conversation with Jessica Birch: an Advocate and Adult with FASD

fasd success show May 16, 2022

Imagine feeling like the world doesn’t want you. No matter what you do, or try, no one wants to be your friend. You are misunderstood and dismissed by medical professionals. You are hurting so much physically and emotionally that you start to think you no longer want to live. That is the dark place my guest, Jessica Birch, found herself in before receiving her FASD diagnosis. 

I saw Jessica featured in a segment on an Australian show called The Project (link in Show Notes). Her ability to articulate her experience with authenticity I knew would resonate with caregivers and individuals with FASD.  

In addition to appearing in media and as a speaker at conferences and workshops, Jessica is a lived experience advisory group/committee member for several organizations including NOFASD Australia, the Foundation for Alcohol and Research and Education (FARE) and FASD HUB. She is also a guest presenter/speaker at the...

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#106 Judy Pakozdy Lessons Learned from a 40+ Year FASD Journey

fasd success show Apr 30, 2022
Would you agree the best learning comes from caregivers who have walked the FASD journey? Today, I’m talking with Judy Pakozdy, who has 45 years’ worth of FASD knowledge, training, and caregiving experience.
 Judy was a pediatric head nurse in Whitehorse (Yukon, Canada). While her nurse training didn’t cover FASD, she was fortunate to become a research assistant for Dr. Kwadwo Asante, retired Medical Director from the Asante Centre (British Columbia, Canada) who visited the hospital as a doctor, trainer and a diagnostician. Upon her retirement from nursing, Judy became a founding member of the FAS Society of Yukon and served as its Executive Director for 12 years. 
I think most of us thought as soon as people hear and know what it (FASD) really was, they would just automatically accommodate the kids and understand that this has nothing to...
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#105 Talking FASD with Oshay’s Maryelen and Paula Mcphail

fasd success show Apr 23, 2022

Today’s show is an inspirational story of what determination, advocacy and drive can achieve! It is the story of Maryelen Mcphail, a foster and adoptive mom and her daughter Paula, co-founders of Oshay’s, an FASD organization, in Scotland.  

Maryelen, with her husband Bill, are parents to 6 children, 3 with FASD. They have also fostered over 50 children. With her daughter Paula, they founded Oshay’s, an organization to further their mission to educate professionals, the community, and families on what FASD is and how it affects everyone. Their Centre provides a library of resources for brain-based disabilities and a sense of community.They offer a variety of classes for all ages in sensory, fussy eating, messy play and more. 


When you see your child as a problem, you don’t get it. When you see your child as having a problem, it’s completely different. My goal is to make every parent understand that. 


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#104 Dr. Catherine Lebel: New Study on low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure

fasd success show Apr 17, 2022

We know prenatal alcohol exposure is a risk factor for FASD. We have studies on high levels of prenatal alcohol exposure - but what about low levels? Up until now, we have not had a study to share showing how low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure can affect the brain and behaviour. 

My guest today, Dr. Catherine Lebel, discusses a recently released study that examined altered brain structure and function in children with low levels of PAE.


We don’t have a lot of prior studies looking at low levels. Sometimes it’s hard to detect effects when you have a smaller study so it may not find anything so people might interpret that as it’s fine to drink.

In this episode, we break it all down so you can understand the information to use in your advocacy. We have the who, what, where  why and how:

  • Who and how many the study involved?
  • Why this study is needed.
  • What the study examined and what the results were.
  • Where this will lead us.
  • How you...
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#103 Jeremy and William: When Pro Wrestling Meets FASD

fasd success show Apr 09, 2022

This is an interesting and inspirational episode with my good friend Jeremy Elliott and his godson William. It is a unique tale of how a family bond, love of sports, and a mentoring mindset, made a positive difference in the life of an individual with FASD.  

Jeremy is a martial arts champion and owns United Family Martial Arts in Niagara Falls. He is also a pro wrestler, having won 2 world championships on his own and been part of 24 others in the circuit. Pro Wrestling Insider has listed him as one of the Top 500. But his greatest achievement is helping others. He recently combined these interests. His first step was wearing red wrestling boots as a take on the red shoes rock campaign, which developed into a logo, which has grown to the launch of their FASD awareness campaign:  Embrace Our Journey. 

Anything is possible. If you dig deep and work through all of your challenges, obstacles, fears, and opposition...Anything. Is. Possible. All you have to...

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#102 Bryan Post: How to Move from Control to Connection with your Child

fasd success show Apr 02, 2022

This is a big episode! In fact, my guest in today’s episode is affectionately known as “Big Poppa”. That’s right – I finally made a connection with Bryan Post and I couldn’t be more stoked to bring his message to my audience.  

Bryan is a child behavior expert and founder of the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy. The Post Institute works with adults, children, and families struggling with early life trauma and the impact on the development of the mind/body system. A renowned clinician, lecturer, and author, Bryan has traveled throughout the world providing expert treatment and consultation.  

He holds three degrees in the field of social work: a bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral degree. A retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Bryan continues spreading his loved based parenting message through his lecturing and writing. He lives with his family in Oklahoma.

We can’t control other people,...

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#101 Sandra Butcher on NICE and The Time is Now

fasd success show Mar 26, 2022

My guest today, Sandra Butcher, the Chief Executive of the National Organization for FASD (U.K.) said it best: Every victory for FASD in any part of the world is a victory for all of us. After a growing movement from many organizations and individuals in the U.K., decades in the making, FASD recognition has been pushed to the forefront.  

Before joining National FASD Sandy had nearly 30 years of experience working at the intersection of science and public policy, including as International Executive Director of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Originally from New Jersey, USA, she’s married to a Brit and mum to two awesome young people. She has lived in the UK since 2006. Her youngest son was diagnosed with FASD when he was nearly 10. She’s a big believer that children grow toward the sunshine and is convinced that hope has to be at the root of how we approach FASD as a society and as families. 

I really believe as we...

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#100 A Meeting with My Mentor: 10 FASD Tips from Donna Debolt

fasd success show Mar 21, 2022

This episode is a celebration. It marks the 100th episode of The FASD Success Show but more importantly, and on a personal note, it brings me to the person who was the catalyst for my own professional FASD journey – Donna Debolt. This will also be a 100-timer episode. It is filled with so many aha moments, thought-provoking questions and insight gained over 32 years.But before we get to some teasers, let me introduce you. 


Donna Debolt is a social worker in private practice. She translated 30 years working in Child Protection into becoming an outspoken advocate for individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. In her role as an FASD Specialist, Donna challenges the Systems to develop and implement prevention, intervention, and management strategies so that families and communities can successfully cope and plan for meaningful futures for these individuals with complex needs. In addition to her private practice, Donna has developed curriculum and taught at...

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#099 Insight on Trauma, Attachment and Sensory Systems

fasd success show Mar 12, 2022
It isn’t often I endorse conferences, but the Insight Conference from the Honestly Adoption team is one that I do. And not just because I have been invited back to speak – but because Mike and Kristin Berry have put together another incredible lineup of speakers. Let Mike tell you why you should attend: 
We understand this struggle because we're parents just like you. Our goal with Insight is to provide personal access to world-renowned experts who can give you practical insight into your child's trauma and how it affects their life and behaviors. You will also walk away with the tools to transform your parenting journey. 

They have been where you are. I’ve been where you are. Their presenters have been where you are. In this special episode, I am talking to three of the 12 presenters as well as Mike and Kristin. They include:  

Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH, Founder of Brave Brains talking about her presentation...

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#098 Dr. Katy Flannigan and Dorothy Reid: What does strengths based even mean?

fasd success show Mar 05, 2022

Do you hear people talk about using a strength-based approach when supporting individuals with FASD? Do you know how to do that? Do you even know what that means? In this episode of The FASD Success Show, I talk with Dr.  Katy Flannigan, (Research Associate at CanFASD) and Dorothy Reid (Co-Chair of the CanFASD Family Advisory Committee) about two recent projects: a narrative review of the literature on strengths of individuals with FASD and a survey seeking the experiences of caregivers. 

The lack of strengths based FASD research has likely perpetuated the stress and stigma experienced by individuals with FASD and their families. There is a critical need to shift the direction of the field.  

I don’t know about you, but even as a research nerd, I find some of these studies difficult to understand. We are going to break it down for you. You will find out:  

  • What exactly is a Literature Review Study,...
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