Le Ministère des Services à l’enfance et des Services sociaux et communautaires demeure très déterminé à améliorer les résultats pour les enfants, les jeunes et les familles touchés par le TSAF

Bonne nouvelle!!

Le Ministère des Services à l’enfance et des Services sociaux et communautaires demeure très déterminé à améliorer les résultats pour les enfants, les jeunes et les familles touchés par l’exposition prénatale à l’alcool (EPA) et le trouble du spectre de l’alcoolisation fœtale (TSAF). Chez Nexus santé, nous sommes très heureux d’annoncer que ce projet provincial des groupes de soutien aux familles et aidants naturels TSAF se poursuivra. L’appel à candidatures arrive bientôt sur la page du projet des groupes de soutien aux familles et aidants naturels TSAF!

Pour en savoir plus sur cette opportunité passionnante, veuillez participer à notre webinaire (en anglais).


(en anglais) New eLearning courses available for justice and solicitor general professionals!

CanFASD has recently released two new online courses for professionals in the Justice and Solicitor General systems.

CanFASD offers a wide range of online courses to improve professional and community understanding of FASD. Their courses are categorized by level of experience, where Level I courses provide a basic overview, Level II courses provide sector-specific training, and Level III courses provide expert training to FASD professionals. They have recently added two new Level II courses to our repertoire: FASD for Judicial and Legal Professionals and FASD for Solicitor General Professionals.

Legal issues are a common experience for individuals with FASD. Some researchers have found that as many as 60% of adolescents and adults with FASD have a history of trouble with the law. Furthermore, it is estimated that 10-23% of individuals in the criminal justice system have FASD. A “one size fits all” approach to justice will not likely be effective for improving outcomes for those with FASD. It is important that professionals working in justice systems have a strong understanding of FASD, the unique challenges this population may face, and strategies for responding and supporting them effectively.

Our new Level II courses are designed for professionals working in the Legal and Judicial, and Solicitor General systems. They provide learners with a better understanding of how FASD impacts a person’s involvement with the justice system, challenge some of the common assumptions about FASD and justice-involvement, and provide helpful strategies and suggestions for working with justice-involved individuals with FASD. There are also interactive case examples to help reinforce the course content.

Learners who complete these courses will be equipped with evidence-based information practice-informed recommendations, and access to many resources that can be easily and effectively integrated into their practice and approach to working with individuals with FASD. All of this information is presented within the context of Canadian legal parameters, and tailored to profession-specific opportunities.

(Read more…)

(en anglais) Alcohol and Pregnancy with Louise Gray

Join the hosts, NOFASD’s Kurt Lewis and FARE’s Clare Ross as they sit down to chat with Louise Gray (Chief Excutive Officer of NOFASD Australia) about the pregnancy, alcohol and FASD. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD is a condition that only appears in children who have been exposed to alcohol while in the womb. It leads to lifelong physical and developmental impairments. (Click here to listen)

(en anglais) FASD project seeks to diagnose Saskatchewan offenders, support better outcomes

A clinical team at Saskatoon’s Regional Psychiatric Centre is working to diagnose Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in incarcerated people.

The pilot project seeks to rehabilitate people with the disorder, connecting them with supports to keep them in the community and out of the criminal justice system.

FASD is linked to alcohol exposure in the womb, and can cause cognitive, behavioural and physical disabilities, according to the FASD Network of Saskatchewan.

People with FASD are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system due to neuropsychological deficits in judgement, Correctional Service Canada says.

Dr. Mansfield Mela, a forensic psychiatrist and lead clinician for the project at the Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC), said many inmates who have FASD haven’t been diagnosed — and that’s a problem.

“The behaviours of the individual are usually misinterpreted to mean a deliberate and intentional behaviour, which gets them in trouble,” Mansfield told Global News.

“Because that behaviour hasn’t been appropriately labelled, they are more likely to continue to suffer the consequences of their behaviour even though the right intervention has not happened.”

Once a diagnosis is made, the project team recommends supports catered to patient needs after they serve their sentence.

Those supports range from counselling to housing and employment — all major helpers on the road to rehabilitation.

“There’s more resources available to them once they have that confirmed diagnosis of FASD,” said Tarrah Wandler, acting executive director of health services at RPC.

“It opens up a lot more supports for the patients in the community and it eases their … successful transition to their communities.”

Thirty-five people have gone through the assessment process since the project started in March 2018, she said.

Mela said anecdotally, they’ve heard the community resources provided to those patients have helped them avoid reoffending.

“That, to us, is a sign that there is a lot of potential in this project going forward to be able to support people who hadn’t been diagnosed previously … to be law-abiding members of society,” Mansfield said, noting the majority of people with FASD are already law-abiding citizens.

(Read more…)

(en anglais) FASD: Lessons In Processing Speed From The Turtle, Sloth And Snail

« I recently saw the graphic below, of a sloth riding on a turtle’s back, saying “too fast”. I was going to share it on my Facebook page, with a short comment about how we may need to slow down in order to accommodate an individual with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Either in what we say, how fast we want someone to reply to us, or to get something done that we ask to be done.

The speed at which we operate is usually too fast for people with FASD. The expectations that we hold for others to meet our requests or demands on our timelines are usually not compatible when it comes to FASD.

Many people with FASD will have a slower processing speed.

Processing speed is a cognitive ability that could be defined as the time it takes a person to do a mental task. It is related to the speed in which a person can understand and react to the information they receive, whether it be visual (letters and numbers), auditory (language), or movement.

For some with FASD, it’s like being a 10 second person in a one second world.

This picture really made me pause. Because we think turtles are slow. But to a sloth, a turtle is too fast. We are likely too fast for many of the children and people we support. We may slow things to a turtle pace, thinking we are slowing enough … but maybe we need to be like a sloth. Some people may even require us to be like a snail.

I have just wrapped up taking a 30 day Self Regulation Challenge (you can read about the beginning of my journey here: Self Regulation in FASD and me) from The Mehrit Centre. Although for many children with FASD their ability to understand and implement self regulation skills may be limited due to various deficits or impacts in different areas of the brain. When a child can’t regulate we need to co-regulate and/or model self-regulation. » (Read more…)

(en anglais) Colette Philcox, From the Streets to Success

Jeff Noble talked to Colette Philcox – not only an individual on the spectrum, but the daughter of Brian Philcox and Bonnie Buxton – and the inspiration for Bonnie’s book: Damaged Angels. Colette is a mother of two – one on the spectrum, is an advocate and holds down a job in the film industry. 

« Colette’s story will inspire hope in individuals and caregivers. Adopted at 4, she was on the streets and addicted to crack by her mid-teens. When I asked her what was the factor that changed the trajectory of her life, she said there wasn’t any one thing that happened.

Now with experience and maturity at 40, you will be captivated by her candor, honesty and insights on: 

  • Living life on the street (she estimates 85% on the streets are on the Spectrum) and why the constant connection her parents kept with her was important. 
  • Being in an abusive relationship and having to choose between getting beat up or having a drink while pregnant: and how she worked through that guilt. 
  • Her reaction to her mom’s book Damaged Angels and how she is coping now with Bonnie’s Alzheimer’s Disease.  
  • Managing employment success and her day to day coping strategies. 
  • Recognizing the importance of her support system: her parents, her partner, her adult children, and her pets. 
  • Musings on the future for Colette and her family.

I have watched Colette grow and mature. I’m not suggesting you kick your kids out, but as she became older she saw what she
was doing wasn’t very good yet she never blamed her parents for tough love – which worked for her. Despite it all, they were always in the background supporting her.

For instance, she talks how Bonnie would meet her and take her out for something to eat. She mentioned she would show up at their home to take a shower and wash some clothes. Reminded me of my foster kid: he said he did the same thing at group homes. He would show up clean up and then leave…The streets where a better option than the group home..that’s what’s wrong.

People in the shelter system wanted to help BUT she wanted to do it by herself. And she did. Colette is a great example of what can be accomplished through love, sticking it out and sheer tenacity of will. »

(Source blog post)

(en anglais) FASD and Youth Housing

If you are finding life to be similar, to us, life has very much became a marathon now. Everyday is an exercise in self-discipline and trying to maintain some sense of routine. We are finding we need to set our alarm to go off every morning to encourage us to get up and start our work day. We need to follow our morning routine and have built in our day that the girl’s support worker always calls at 10am and does an initial activity with them over Zoom conferencing. The kids move pretty slow in the morning while my wife and I are getting our work done. The afternoon focus turns on them and working through their school work. We always stop at 4pm and go for our walk or ride as a family which is absolutely a highlight. Finally, with this beautiful weather, we focus on the yard after supper.
While this is our new normal, it is interesting to see all the online resources that are being offered now. One of the big challenges we are finding, after spending hours online with my work, the kids’ work and the beautiful weather, is we really don’t want to be in front of screens watching other webinars and resources.

However, a couple items that might be of interest to you is a short series of workshops that Kids Inclusive, who serve as the LHIN for our area, are doing on the F-Words from CanChild. The F-Words are protective factors that can help any child with a disability and are evidence-based from around the world.  This June 9 workshop will give caregivers an opportunity to connect with each other.

We also had a presentation done for the Rural FASD Support Network by Terrilee Kelford of Cornerstone Landing. Terrilee sits on a national advisory council related to youth homelessness and was gracious enough to share some of her knowledge. (Read more…)

(en anglais) ‘I can be myself’: Youth FASD support program expands in Yellowknife

Lois Anderson is doing things her parents say they never expected.

The 17-year-old Yellowknife teen has taken on everything from learning about improv acting to taking part in a creative writing workshop at the NorthWords Writers Festival.

Anderson is among a growing group of young people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) who are gaining independence through the 4Y program by helping them transition into adulthood.

Created last June, the program has grown from three to 12 participants, and there’s a waiting list, according to Foster Family Coalition staff.

« I just feel like I can be myself, » said Anderson, who joined the group last September. « I don’t have to hide anything…. It just taught me to be a little bit more independent. »

The Foster Family Coalition of the N.W.T. launched the 4Y program last June after foster families identified gaps in services for young people with FASD who are transitioning out of foster care.

The program pairs each youth with a navigator or coach to learn life skills and reach personal goals — anything the youth is interested in, like getting a job, saving up for something they desire, or getting ready for post-secondary education and living on their own.

Funding from the Child’s First Initiative last November helped the program gain a youth space and fund five part-time staff. The program is now open to any youth with FASD in Yellowknife.

« It’s really cool to see like when we do group activities, like all of the relationships that have been built between the participants, » said Korry Garvey, a former 4Y coordinator who says the program has turned into a community.

Pandemic leads to challenges

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the program held weekly improv acting nights, music workshops and pizza nights. The youth collaborated on a film for the Dead North Film Festival this year. (Read more…)

(en anglais) CanFASD: Putting Evidence in Women’s Hands – Alcohol and Cannabis Use When Breastfeeding

Two updated resources are available about alcohol and breastfeeding: a research update from CanFASD Alcohol and Breastfeeding and a brochure from Best Start Mixing Alcohol and Breastfeeding. They both illustrate how little research there is available, and how public health messaging directed to new mothers has changed over time.

The public health message currently offered to mothers is that it is safest not to drink alcohol when breastfeeding and if one chooses to drink, to avoid drinking near the time of breastfeeding, so that infants are exposed to the very least amount of alcohol. Some recent studies about alcohol use when breastfeeding have not found negative effects for infants – and instead, have found that low level drinking during breastfeeding was not associated with shorter breastfeeding duration or adverse outcomes in infants up to 12 months of age. These adverse outcomes included effects on infant feeding and sleeping behaviour, as well as developmental outcomes.

Yet, infants cannot metabolize alcohol in the same way as adults, and exposure to alcohol places them at risk of potential alcohol-related harm, in the short, if not long term. As a result, the weight of decision-making about breastfeeding and drinking alcohol rests on women. What is low level drinking, and how can one assess the many confounding factors related to alcohol’s effects – sex, genetics, nutrition, use of other substances, etc.? All of these issues are in play for their own, and their infant’s health.

Similarly, in light of cannabis legalization, more attention has been placed on the impact of cannabis use on breastfeeding. As with alcohol, initial public health messaging focussed on the studies that showed risk. But, a recent review of the literature led by Dr. Alice Ordean of St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, found only two articles that addressed the impact of postpartum cannabis use by lactating women that provided developmental outcomes for infants. (Read more…)

(en anglais) Mental Health for Individuals with FASD

When we talk about mental health for individuals with FASD, we often talk about the mental health issues people with FASD commonly experience. But it is important to remember that mental health more than mental illness. Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”

For individuals with FASD, it can be difficult to develop the skills you need to maintain good mental health. There are a number of things that might be a barrier to you achieving good mental health, such as your personal challenges, stigma, and lack of services available. But there are ways that you can work to improve your mental health despite these barriers. Below are 5 strategies that you can use!

1. Focus on your strengths

Identify your strengths. Find things you are interested in, that you do well, and that you’re talented at. Work to grow your strengths by practicing these skills and applying them to your daily life.

If you don’t know what your strengths are, look at the information from your professional diagnostic assessment or ask your friends and family what they think you do well.

2. Develop good coping strategies

Coping strategies are the things you do to calm yourself down when you start to feel overwhelmed. Figure out healthy ways that you can cope with feelings of anger, stress, anxiety, or sadness. Healthy coping strategies will look different for everyone. Your coping strategies might include deep breathing exercises, doing a physical activity, getting creative, or something else unique to you.

Remember: drinking alcohol and/or using substances are not healthy coping strategies.

(Read more…)