Coaching Families Caregiver Support Group -September 13, 2016

Attention parents and caregivers of children with FASD!!!!

Coaching families caregiver support groups is starting again this fall.  You do not have to be a client of this program in order to attend these support groups. The first group is scheduled for September 13, 2016.

This is a chance for you as a parent/caregiver to relieve some stress, get to know other caregivers to share successes, generate ideas, collectively problem solve and create hope.

There will be a limited child programming for those who can not find a babysitter.  Please let Roxanna know how many children you intend to bring so they are able to provide the best possible experience for you and your children.

Kindly RSVP by September 7, 2016 to Roxanna Clermont by:

Phone: 780-721-2236 OR Email:


Coaching Families September 2016 Flyer

Click image to download PDF

Memory Game Recruitment Poster

Memory Game

The Memory Game is child-friendly memory test that presents you with picture pairs and then tests your memory of those pairs with a multiple-choice style question.

After playing the game once, come back again 24 hours later to play again and see how yourmemory holds up! After playing The Memory Game the second time, we will be able to send you a short summary of your results! When you come back to play again, make sure to use the same participant code that you received from the first time you played the game (When you got an email from the online consent)!

Memory Study in Children and youth The goal of this project is to investigate possible memory difficulties experienced by children with neurodevelopmental conditions. Memory is central to many aspects of everyday activities and we hope to use this project to develop useful tools that help us improvememory skills.

We are very excited to have you play! But first, please read the following information:

  1. Who can play?: Anyone can play the game – sisters, brothers, and parents too! But, please do not play the game together. Try to play the game one-by-one without watching each other – this way, the picture pairs are a surprise for everyone! If your child requires assistance operating the game, feel free to do so! However, please do not demonstrate the game in front of them otherwise the pairs will not be a surprise!
  2.  What devices can I play on?: This game is optimized for a touch screen tablet. Please do not play on a touch screen phone (e.g. iPhone) as the game will be too small! If you do not have a tablet to play the game on, please contact Dr. Francois Bolduc and his research team at to be accommodated.
  3. When can I do this?: The Memory Game will be active from August 8, 2016 to September 8, 2016.


Ready to play? Click here!:

DisclaimerThis is not a diagnostic test. Please consult your physician if you have any question about your child’s health.

Eye tracking shows promise as screening tool for children with FASD

Two groundbreaking discoveries by NeuroDevNet-supported researchers could contribute to the development of a less expensive and faster screening tool to identify young children, and even infants, with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

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Queen’s University graduate student and Mitacs Accelerate intern Carmela Paolozza tests a young child using SR Research’s EyeLink eye-tracking technology. (Photo by Katelyn Verstraten)

Prenatal alcohol exposure is considered the most common known cause of developmental disability in the western world. The good news is that early diagnosis and intervention can reduce the risks of school failure, involvement with the law, family disruption and homelessness. Unfortunately, the medical signs are often difficult to recognize in newborns, infants and young children.

That could change as a result of a partnership between Queen’s University and Ottawa-based SR Research Ltd., focused on proving the technology and producing the rigorous evidence needed to help bring a screening product to market.

In a global first, the Queen’s team showed that children exposed to alcohol before birth have less control over their eye movements than typically developing children. The project used equipment from SR Research, creators of world renowned eye-tracking equipment with the best technical specifications available.

In another study, researchers developed analysis tools that would allow SR Research’s EyeLink technology to be used as a low-cost screening tool to identify children with FASD and other neurological and psychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Parkinson’s disease and autism.

Existing screening processes can take many months to go through, which places a lot of stress on families. The tests are also expensive, require specialized training and are not available everywhere in Canada.

“If we can detect these brain injuries early, it will reduce costs in the health care systems and save years of frustration in the lives of patients,” says William Schmidt, Director of Sales at SR Research.

Hundreds of children from across Canada have participated in the studies. Data generated from those studies is building the clinical evidence base to demonstrate how this technology can be a powerful and sensitive tool for assessing brain function or brain dysfunction in different clinical populations. Researchers hope the technology will one day be used as a clinical tool to complement existing psychological measurement tests.

“Our research is helping to fill the gaps in knowledge that will be needed to ensure regulatory approval and market acceptance,” says Queen’s researcher and project leader James Reynolds.

SR Research’s Eyelink 1000 Plus eye-tracker has been critical to the project, adds Dr. Reynolds. “This technology is state-of-the-art. It has allowed us to dramatically improve both the quality of the data we’re able to generate and to work with younger children. We’re getting fabulous data now from infants as young as 12 months and we might be able to push that even younger.”

Dr. Reynolds is also using this technology in a project with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto to study the brain development of children in the foster care system.

“A lot of these kids are at risk because they’ve been exposed to various types of trauma,” he says. “If you can show that their brain isn’t developing the way a typically healthy child at that age should be developing, that becomes your hook to ensure that interventions are put in place to stimulate that brain development to catch up to where they should be.”

Research has shown that early detection and interventions, such as those focusing on language and motor skills, can significantly improve a child’s quality of life. “From birth to age five is when the brain is most responsive to that type of stimulation. We predict it could overcome a lot of the early adversity these kids face,” says Dr. Reynolds.

The EyeLink 1000 Plus has several advantages over competing technologies. In addition to having the fastest data rate, highest accuracy and highest resolution of any eye tracking device, it does not require subjects to wear a head-mounted apparatus, which is often heavy and bothersome for young children. The technology can also be integrated into a mobile setting for testing in remote communities.

“This research gives these children hope for leading more fulfilling lives, and represents a potential new market opportunity for our company,” says Dr. Schmidt.  A December 2015 report by Research and Markets estimates the global eye tracking market will grow by US$183.3 million in 2014 to over US$1 billion by 2020 as applications for the technology expand beyond the research community.

A diagnostic clinic in British Columbia will begin working with Dr. Reynolds’ group in 2016 to test the screening tool in parallel with the current standard of care for assessing children for FASD.

“NeuroDevNet has been a great partner in this research,” adds Dr. Schmidt. “They recognize that rigorous empirical backing will be required to bring a product like this through the regulatory process and to market. They’re not only working to get the basic science done, but they also want to make sure something is delivered that has real-world benefits.”

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.

FASD Awareness Day 2016: Focus on Social Media

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

FASD Awareness Day 2016: Focus on Social Media

Since 1999, FASD activists have held World FASD Awareness Day events on 09/09 to represent the nine months of pregnancy, often highlighted with a bell ringing ceremony at 9:09 am. September 9, 2016 is approaching, and this year activists want to use social media because it provides a unique and far-reaching means of building awareness.

You can help build FASD awareness by posting a message, reposting theirs, or bringing attention to their events on your own social media accounts.

FASD Awareness Day Share with CanFASD


This year Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Research Network (CanFASD) is providing an online forum for organizations to post their initiatives on theCanFASD website. Include a description and a picture or video and they will re-post and Tweet it out to all of their followers. You can post using #FASDAwarenessDay #CanFASD and win prizes.

The Executive Director of CanFASD…

View original post 368 more words

Five (05) Reasons Kids Refuse to Eat

People ask me all the time, “Why doesn’t my kid eat?”  Most of you know how frustrating meal time can be when you try something new or worse when you serve something they’ve eaten before and then refuse to eat! Most kids will do this occasionally, but for some it is a way of life.  So, what gives? Well, a variety of factors can contribute and the reasons can evolve over time.  There is value in doing some detective work because getting to the root of the problem will then give you the tools to help them eat more food, more consistently.  In my experience and specialized feeding education, I believe there are 5 different reasons kids refuse to eat.  At the same time, it is common for several of these underlying issues to affect a child’s ability to eat well at the same time.  Keeping that in mind, let me a explain in some more detail…

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It is so frustrating and confusing when kids don't eat, but there are 5 common reasons that kids are picky eaters. Knowing which one it is will let you know how to help them.


Although this may seem like the most obvious reason kids don’t eat, it is often the most overlooked.  Well, at least it isn’t always explored deeply enough.  When kids have a well documented medical condition or are visibly sick, it is obvious that their eating can be affected, but sometimes there are more subtle issues.  Two of the biggest culprits are acid reflux and constipation.  Both of these very common problems for kids can put a halt to eating.  Sarah Dees guest posted a few months back about reflux and it’s effects on an infant, but it can also have an impact on kids much older- even if they weren’t diagnosed as an infant.  My older son has struggled with constipation since he was about a year old.  I have to carefully watch his fiber intake and when he starts to get a little backed up,  his eating is greatly affected.  Every time he has a bad meal, I have to ask myself, “Does he need to go to the bathroom?”  The answer is usually, “Yes!” If you want more help on managing constipation click here and here.

If you read through the rest of this post and feel that none of the other categories fit with why your child isn’t eating, I would strongly encourage you to think about any possible stomach issues.  Kids aren’t always able to verbalize how they are feeling or realize it is part of the problem.  Definitely discuss it further with your doc, there are some really simple fixes for some of these problems.  By the way, teething, fatigue, and other common aliments fit into this category.Sensory

For many “picky eaters” sensory processing plays a big role in their refusal to eat foods. Simply put, if something feels gross in their mouth or on their hands, they aren’t going to eat it.  The fancy therapeutic term we give for this is tactile defensive.  Clues that your child may be refusing foods because they are defensive are: gagging, squirming, or seeming frightened by the sight, smell, touch, or taste of a particular food. Oral aversion also fits into this category.  If your child has had medical testing, feeding tubes, or a physical incident in or around their mouth/throat (even from a infancy) they may be scared to have anything come toward their mouth and be overly sensitive in the area.


This one might be a little tricky for parents to figure out because you need to consider how well your child is chewing and swallowing their food.  You can probably rule this out if you have a child over 2.5 that safely and easily transitioned onto table foods.  Signs that your child may not be chewing well are: choking/gagging after the food is already in their mouth for a few seconds/minutes, spitting out half chewed food, or throwing up food that looks like it has hardly been chewed.  They also may have had difficulty breastfeeding and struggled with table foods when they were introduced.  Kids will start refusing to eat foods because they don’t know how to chew it or they are scared they are going to gag/choke/throw up again on this food.  They will often stick to a limited diet because they know they can manage them safely.

 What do I mean by routine exactly?  Well, I strongly believe that structure and routine around food and meal time is critical to kids eating well.  I know there are a few kids out there that will manage to eat well with the lack thereof, but by in large most kids eating habits will suffer greatly without a regular routine.  This can be a touchy subject for parents, we all have our comfortable eating habits and routines that we have already established for ourselves as adults.  We often continue to do what is comfortable for us with our kids, but it isn’t always what leads us to teaching them habits that we really want them to have. If you don’t have regular meal times, pay attention to how frequently they are eating. Do you eat in front of the TV often, and/or mostly let your kids pick what they want to eat? If they aren’t eating well or willing to try foods, lack of routine may be the reason for it… or at least part of it.


I commonly see this compounded on top of one of the other 4 reasons kids don’t eat.  When there is a problem with eating, we get overwhelmed and start grasping at straws just to get them to eat. This is another way the bad habits can begin and then play a role in poor eating.

Since writing this post, which continues to receive a lot of traffic several years later, I have realized that there was one other common factor I didn’t fully explain that falls under routine.  Some children start off as good eaters, and then between 1-2 years of age, eating starts to awry. What gives? Well, it is NORMAL for toddlers to go through a picky eating stage as their taste buds mature and they begin to want to exert some control into their lives.  Parents, sometimes, get scared when their once “good” eater is now not eating well, and will begin to throw routine and structure out the window. Short order cooking is ushered in, among numerous other well-meaning but sabotaging techniques, and parents are left with a bona fide picky eater months or years later.


I put behavior at the end of this list for a reason.  I want this to be the last thing that you consider. A lot of people advise parents that kids are being “bad” or that the reason they are refusing to eat well is behavior based.  Although, behavior plays a role, it is actually a small percentage of kids that actually refuse to eat based solely on behavior.  Now, please don’t mistake me, even the youngest of tykes will learn quickly what they need to say or cry or throw to get what food they want.  All kids go through different stages of development when they are testing boundaries and you can bet they will test it at meal times, too.  After all, this is one of the few areas where they actually have some control.  But, these kinds of little phases are short lived and aren’t severe.  For kids that have a history of being picky or poor eaters, behavior is a piece of the puzzle, but typically it has evolved from one of the legitimate reasons listed above.

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.

Reminder – EFAN 2016 AGM

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3rd Annual General Meeting for EFAN is scheduled for:

Date: September 06, 2016

Time: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm (Door Open at 9:30 for registration)

Location: Edmonton Valley Zoo (Otter Room) 13315 Buena Vista Rd

(The meeting room is in the building that is on the right side of guest services)

AGM Agenda and Location 2016

Click image to download pdf



What Corrections Need to Know about FASD – 44th Video Series

Persons with FASD have a brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.  Most of these individuals can be easily influenced by their peers and they keep getting in trouble.  The reason for them being repeated offenders is that they do not understand consequences of their behavior. made the below video that can be used at corrections facilities, social service agencies, courts, schools, and other public and private service agencies.

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this video are those of the presenters and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.


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