Ontario Expanding Diagnostic Services for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

TORONTO – The Ontario government is investing $2.8 million annually to expand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic services by funding 12 new FASD clinics for a total of 21 funded FASD diagnostic clinics across the province.

With this additional funding, the government is investing $10.1 million in annual funding towards FASD programs and services and diagnostic services for people impacted by FASD.

“Early diagnosis and access to support for young people impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can make a significant impact on their ability to learn and grow,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.  “Our government is committed to supporting families affected by FASD in ways that improve their day-to-day lives.”

For children and youth impacted by FASD, receiving the right diagnostic assessment helps to inform and improve access to the supports and services that meet their individual needs. Screening and diagnosis for FASD is often a multi-step process involving several health professionals working together. Early access to these assessments support early intervention, leading to better outcomes for people impacted by FASD.

“Our government has always been committed to improving access to care for our most vulnerable, and today’s funding continues to deliver on that commitment,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This funding will reduce wait times for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder assessment and diagnosis services and ensure families across Ontario get the right supports they need – when and where they need it.”

“As we reach important milestones in our Roadmap to Wellness, we will continue making the necessary investments to ensure Ontarians of all ages have access to safe and effective mental health and addictions supports that meet their unique needs,” said Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This investment is just one more way we are filling urgent gaps in care and addressing the extensive wait times that have been preventing Ontarians from receiving the high-quality care they expect and deserve.”

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(in French) Miser sur les points forts : Atelier de renforcement des capacités familiales liées au TSAF

Joignez-vous à nous!
Atelier de renforcement des capacités familiales liées au trouble du spectre de l’alcoolisation fœtale (TSAF).

Le troubles du spectre de l’alcoolisation fœtale (TSAF) est un terme de diagnostic qui décrit les effets sur le cerveau et le corps des personnes dont la mère a consommé de l’alcool durant sa grossesse. Le TSAF est une condition qui dure toute la vie, et les personnes peuvent éprouver certaines difficultés d’ordre physique, mental, d’apprentissage, comportementale ou social.

En mars, le réseau de la Planification coordonnée des services organisera des ateliers interactifs en ligne pour aider les soignants de l’Ontario à accroître leurs connaissances et leurs compétences pratiques afin de soutenir les enfants et les jeunes atteints du TSAF. L’événement sera animé par des intervenants qui expliqueront aux soignants d’enfants et de jeunes atteints du TSAF comment reconnaître les symptômes de ce trouble. Ils recommanderont également des services de soutien et aideront les familles à se concentrer sur les points forts de leur enfant pour en constater les avantages.

Les participants exploreront les ressources utiles sur le TSAF, les programmes et soutiens provinciaux pertinents et d’autres soutiens financiers.

Date : 18 mars 2021
Horaire : 10h – 12h30

Hâtez-vous de réserver, le nombre de places est limité! Inscrivez-vous dès aujourd’hui à https://www.surreyplace.ca/fr/fasd-workshops/

I See Your Eye-Rolling And It’s Time To Stop

The last time it happened we were at the apple orchard. My daughter, a teen with a disability called FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder), hopped on the train trolley and sat on the opposite side of the train away from me. She was in a prickly, anxious mood and clearly didn’t want to be near me.

That’s all fine and good, but COVID protocols had been mentioned verbally, once, by the train conductor. And he said each family should sit together. The train car was open on the way back and she sat across from me instead. Part of her brain-based disability is memory impairment, and another part is processing speed. She might hear something one minute and literally have forgotten it within the next 15 minutes, or she could still be thinking about what she heard three to four minutes after that.

Sometimes I like to say my daughter needs a translator. It’s the nature of her disability. The older she gets, the less she wants me around and that is part of the process of growing up. Anyway, for whatever reason, that day I missed her cue and forgot to translate. My daughter’s disability is mostly invisible, which comes with some challenges when interacting in the community.

People see her not do what they just said to do, and oftentimes, they react with hostility and rudeness. Frequently, her behaviour is not intentional.

But people don’t know that, because her disability is mostly invisible. There are no visual triggers that would show you she has a disability of any sort. Someone sees her sit and assumes she’s being defiant. They make a snappy comment in a louder tone, just as the conductor and a second employee both did that day.

In a split second, I caught her looking slightly embarrassed, eyes turned down to the ground. She moved back over to sit beside me as the train conductor and another employee both turned and rolled their eyes. I know this look too well. It’s a look that tells me you think she did it on purpose. Sometimes there’s a tiny snort or a dismissive grunt. I have seen and heard it so many other times. The one that says: just another rude defiant teenager or just another rude kid.

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New Ontario Groups for Adults with FASD or Suspected FASD

  • Ontario Social Group for Adults with FASD or suspected FASD

Join us to meet others with FASD throughout the province. You will see some old friends and make new friends. During these sessions, we will talk about what matters to you. We will share information and learn something new, all from the comfort of your home. Participate in the discussions at your comfort level, everyone is welcome!

When: Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 6:30 -7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Pre-Registration is required:  https://bit.ly/3rcubVI

  • Ontario Education Group for Adults with FASD or suspected FASD

Opportunity to learn effective strategies for reducing stress or anxiety with Sabrina Peacock from In(tu)ition. This session will cover: COVID, loneliness and fatigue, recognizing the signs and asking for help, introduction to breath work and mindfulness activities, create a wellness plan together, and free mindfulness resources

When: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Pre-Registration is required: https://able2-org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0lceusrDIrGNdB-XW8d7w7rIsGhwfEjvj1

For More Information:  613-761-9252 Ext. 234 or fasd@able2.org

Introducing the Parents Helping Parents Project

The Toronto FASD Network and the Toronto FASD Leadership Team are pleased to announce:

The launch of the PARENTS HELPING PARENTS PROJECT, a phone support resource provided by Parent Mentors (parents and caregivers of children, youth and adults affected by FASD) prepared to listen to, support and share personal coping strategies with other parents and caregiver of individuals affected by FASD.

As a peer mentoring resource it is not a crisis line and cannot offer therapeutic or clinical interventions. However, it can provide information where parents and caregivers might access those interventions, as well as information about other community resources.

Callers can expect confidentiality, except in situations where there is a risk of harm to oneself or to others.

When: As of February 8, 2021, 7 days a week, 10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.
How: Call 647 572-4519 to access a Parent Mentor.

The Parents Helping Parents Project is funded through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

Adopt4Life is expending in more regions, and they are also adding a provincial bilingual role!

Those exciting job opportunities are optimal for people with direct lived experience with adoption, kinship, customary care and/or fostering, who have familiarity advocating for supports for their children and/or providing peer support in their community.
Are you interested in partnering with families, service providers, children’s aid societies and First Nations, Indigenous, and Métis, child and family well-being agencies to provide support and guidance to adoptive, kin and customary care parents on their lifelong journey parenting their children? Are you passionate about family engagement and providing needed supports to parents and caregivers, reducing isolation and normalizing their experience? Do you have a strong relationship building capacity and a keen interest in ensuring permanency for children? If flexible hours and the opportunity to work with an organization committed to supporting marginalized communities are important to you, then Adopt4Life is looking for you!

They have a few Regional Parent Liaison openings:


NEW: 6-week live online mindfulness programs

We are happy to share two new opportunities for children and teens:

  • 6-week Live Online Mindfulness Program for Kids
    The 6-week online mindfulness course for children will present a range of strategies to help children learn to focus, concentrate and calm difficult emotions. A variety of valuable mindfulness resources including “Marvin the Mindful Marmot” and “Marvin the Mindful Marmot Comes to His Senses” will be shared to promote self regulation skills and greater present moment awareness.
  • 6 Week Live Online Mindfulness Program for Youth
    The 6-week online mindfulness course for teens will focus on developing and deepening self awareness skills through mindful movement, music and journaling. Through yoga, guided relaxations and breath exercises, teens will learn how to reduce anxiety, improve focus and develop their emotional regulation skills.

Two new Province-wide virtual groups for adults living with FASD!

The Fetal Alcohol Resource Program at ABLE2 is happy to announce the first two Province-wide virtual groups for adults living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD):

  • FASD Educational Group
  • FASD Social Group

Both groups will be held monthly. You can participate at your comfort level from the comfort of your home.

Join host, Darlene Donnelly on January 27, 2021 at 6:30 pm for learning more about the educational group and to hear their guest speaker. Then, stay for the second hour – an introduction to the province-wide social group.

To launch the educational group, FARP is pleased to share that Tanya, an expert in the field of FASD, and a Certified FASD Educator with lived experience, will give an informative and inspirational talk about FASD throughout a lifespan for the first hour. Tanya will join them from time to time to co-facilitate the social groups.

The second hour will be an introduction to the social group and an opportunity to meet some new and old friends. At this first meeting, they will get your thoughts about how to make the social groups a fun, safe place to meet to share thoughts and get to know others.

Please note: The above groups are for Ontario Residence only

Date: January 27, 2021 at 6:30 -8:30 pm.
Where: Zoom
Registration: Register in advance for this meeting.

For more info: Contact the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program at 613-761-9252 Ext. 234 or fasd@able2.org

New FASD Youth Justice Program Available Now

We are excited to introduce a new FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Youth Justice Program to Hamilton and surrounding areas, which has been funded by the Department of Justice Canada.

ALL 4 ONE is a program that provides intervention and support to justice involved youth (aged 12-17), and their caregivers, living with FASD, or querying a diagnosis. This program is client-centered and directed, with a focus on the strengths and abilities of the individual.

ALL 4 ONE understands that for FASD impacted youth who are justice involved, individualized case management and family support are essential components to prevent further recidivism. In turn, ALL 4 ONE is committed to building a community of practice amongst justice professionals regarding issues and concerns of FASD impacted youth engaged in the justice system to obtain best outcomes.

Mindful of the unique, lifelong challenges presented to these individuals, ALL 4 ONE is comprised of a Family Support Worker and a Youth Worker, who will provide wide-ranging assistance to both youth and caregivers, as they navigate the judicial system, access community resources, and expand their networks of support in developing the young person’s circle of care.

Please click here to see the brochure which will provide further details of the ALL 4 ONE program, and the various supports it can offer to youth and their caregivers.

If you have any questions, or would like further clarification, please contact Program Coordinator/Family Support Worker, Cassy Bowden, at 289-556-6171 or by email at cbowden@jhshamilton.on.ca or Youth Worker, Jeff Parker, at 289-442-5886 or by email at jparker@jhshamilton.on.ca.

Survey of parents with adults and young adults with FASD

Posted on behalf of David Gerry (Host of the Living With FASD Summits)

A stark question from our 28 year old daughter with FASD: What’s going to happen to me when you die

I wanted to connect with you to get your opinion on a situation I experienced in September this year. When asked by the facilitator of a webinar on September 9th (FASD Awareness Day), “What is your greatest fear for the future?” our 28 year old daughter bluntly answered, “What will happen to me when my parents die?”

That simple statement brought to the forefront an ongoing concern that’s been nagging me over the past several years. I assume this concerns many other families, too. As you may be aware, when it comes to solving the long term living requirements our family member with FASD will face (after you pass), there can be many challenges.

In order to find solutions to this issue, I would first like to start by finding out more from parents the scope of the problem, what you have tried and what solutions you have found. I would really appreciate your experience, opinions, and insights so am hoping you are willing to fill out the following 5-10 minute survey here: https://forms.gle/PKnv8eiieMnTwdTf6.

For those of you interested in my findings, I will be offering a free training to highlight the top 3 challenges, leave me your name and email in the last two optional text boxes of the survey.

Thanks in advance for your precious time,

David Gerry