Begging for Support — FASD: Learning with Hope

We shouldn’t have to beg for services for our teen with FASD. But we will. Oh, heck yeah, we will continue to fight for the support he needs.

There have been times in this FASD journey where I have literally been reduced to begging for the help that our son deserves and needs. Yesterday was another such day. Some boxes had been ticked somewhere in The System. I had been feeling really good for the first time in ages at the support that is in place around our child. It’s been working. It makes sense. The people involved are getting to know each other. There is a common language developing across the teams.

So, of course, without warning, yet another service had decided that because our son was doing well enough (despite having been referred here not long ago due to a series of crises) and because he had had x number of sessions, it was time to boot him out of their system.

Hold on. Wait? What?

Oh no you don’t.

Not yet.

Mamma Bear woke up and with the nicest smile she could manage laid out 10,000 reasons why this was not a good idea. We’d be happy to put all this in writing, of course, not as a complaint, but as a compliment, she said, because your service has made such an important contribution to our son’s wellbeing and because we know statistically he’s just entering the hardest years for those with FASD. You matter. This matters. Too few people out there ‘get’ FASD. We shouldn’t have to waste key NHS resources to help others who might not be familiar with our family and our son’s needs get up to speed on these things. Too often for people with FASD, it takes years for the supports to be finally put in place. Then, when they start working, they are removed. We don’t want that to happen to our son at such a critical time in his life – he’s just turning 14. We could share the stats with you if you like of the addictions, the problems with the law, the homelessness, the vulnerability he is facing as teen with FASD preparing to enter adulthood.

Please, please don’t discharge him from your service. Look – it’s been working.  We just shared with you several examples of how what you have taught him has worked. But let’s be honest, this is work you would normally do with a much younger child. What would normally come next? There are a whole host of other skills he will need to learn and master, other conversations he will need to practice. You can’t honestly believe that we are out of the woods and no other crises are likely to come up?  This service has the ability to see him until he is 19, why discharge him now?  Let’s spread out the sessions…just keep him on the books in case something else heats up. C’mon, let’s think this through.

Click to read the full post via Begging for Support — FASD: Learning with Hope

Higher autism prevalence in children prenatally exposed to alcohol: pilot study


Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016 12:01AM EDT

A pilot study found that the prevalence of autism among children prenatally exposed to alcohol was significantly higher than the prevalence in the overall Canadian population.

The study, which was presented at the Canadian Paediatric Society’s annual conference in P.E.I. in 2016, examined the case reports of 300 Ontario children aged three to 16 who were exposed to alcohol in the womb.

Researchers reviewed the case reports to determine the prevalence of autism, number of children diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), and other demographic data.

FASDs are a group of conditions that can present in children whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy, and are among the leading causes of cognitive and developmental disability among Canadian children. FASD symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may include physical, mental, behavioural, and learning disabilities.

The researchers found that 4.7 per cent (or 14) of the 300 children had been diagnosed with autism. By comparison, the prevalence of autism among the general Canadian population is 1.1 per cent.

Retrieved from

Employment Opportunity: Community Outreach Worker First Steps Program


Are you looking for a career that can make a difference in the life of a family in need? Put your passion for providing support and counseling towards a rewarding opportunity with Catholic Social Services as a Community Outreach Worker with our First Steps Program.

About the Role:

This is a permanent full time position at forty (40) hours per week.

You will be joining an established Agency that is guided by faith to care for and bring hope to people in need with humility, compassion and respect. With more than 50 years of service delivery, Catholic Social Services is one of the largest multi-function social services agencies in Canada, with more than 1600 staff, and 2000 volunteers delivering 130+ programs throughout Central Alberta.

As a Community Outreach Worker, you provide mentoring and support to pregnant or new mothers dealing with addictions issues. Using your ability to assess individual needs and your awareness of community programs, you link women to the resources they need to be successful. Your flexibility, problem-solving and non-judgmental approach is the foundation in supporting mothers to move forward. You have the ability to work in a team environment, to develop solid, long-term relationships with the people you serve by establishing trust, mutual respect and healthy boundaries.

Your Degree/Diploma in Human Services (or equivalent) combined with approximately 2 years’ experience working with individuals, families and children have prepared you for this challenging and rewarding role. Knowledge of addictions, family violence and community-based services make you an ideal candidate. A vehicle and valid Operator’s Licence is required.

The salary for this position is $21.57 to $24.28 per hour based on qualifications and experience. We offer a comprehensive benefits package, flexibility and supportive working environment.

Police Information Check including vulnerable sector search, Intervention Record Check and/ or summary of driving record are conditions of employment and the financial responsibility of the candidate.

We thank all applicants; however, only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. We offer flexibility, a comprehensive benefits package and a supportive working environment. We are an equal opportunity employer

As a Catholic social services agency we are guided by faith to care for and bring hope to people in need with humility, compassion and respect.


Start the Right Conversation: Common Language and Common Messaging Guides on FASD

As we all get ready to Rock our Red Shoes and help inform our communities about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, it is essential that our conversations promote dignity, help to reduce the stigma often experienced by those with FASD, their caregivers and families, and communities, and spread factual information about prevention, assessment/diagnosis, and interventions.

Two guides are available that can help us rock the right FASD conversations. Just click the images to download!

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The language guide provides dignity-promoting alternatives to stigma-inducing words or phrases commonly used in society. The Looking After Each Other project proposes the language within the guide be used in an effort to promote the dignity of those with FASD and their families.

The guide is intended to be a living document that will change over time as the Looking After Each Other project continues to reflect on the use of language as a tool to promote dignity for everyone impacted by FASD.

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The purpose of this document is to assist those writing and talking about people with FASD or the issues related to the disability to use the same statistics, framing of topics, and language. The outcome over time will be an improved understanding by the reader/listener with consistently using these suggestions. This is a living document and areas will be updated as it is informed by the research.



July 3rd, 2018 Meeting Agenda

33943496_1897763120254347_5143978151692468224_nGood morning everyone! Hopefully, you are out rocking your red shoes and helping us to educate and support our community in regard to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Our next meeting date is July 3rd, 2018 and we hope to see everyone there! Please click the agenda to download a PDF copy!


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Tuesday’s Tips: Ownership

tuesdays tips 2

Ownership is an abstract concept. How does a child know that a toy placed in a room with no one else around belongs to anyone? No one is sitting with it or around it, therefore, “It’s mine – I found it.” If there was another person in the room beside the toy, the child may have a better opportunity to “see” a concrete visual cue to reinforce the concept o ownership.

Stealing can be related to the lack of understanding of ownership over time and space for a child and youth with FASD. The child’s understanding may be that a specific person owns a specific object only as long as the person and the object are together.

“Taking” or “finding behaviour occurs when the child sees something they want and the visual cue (the person) that connects the object to the owner is absent.

When you have discovered that something has been taken, simply and calmly state, “This (description of item) belongs to …” And then return the item to the owner. 

Be alert to new acquisitions.

Assign a colour or a symbol to each person in the home. For your child, use the colour or symbol to indicate what is their’s in terms of personal items (i.e toothbrush, comb…). The colour or symbol helps that child understand what is their’s and what is not while providing a visual rule (if your colour or symbol is not on it, it is not your’s and you need to put it back).

Avoid asking “why” questions, instead, ask “how” and “where”.

Supervision and redirection remain key to prevention!

Remember, it’s about trying differently not harder. If something does not work, try something else!

In The News: Young offender asks judge for longer sentence


 Retrieved from

A 14-year-old who has been in and out of custody for much of his youth had a surprising request for his sentencing judge on Thursday.

The teen, who had pleaded guilty to robbery and failing to comply with court conditions, asked to be locked up for 10 months — four months longer than the sentence his lawyer had pitched to the judge.

“I wish I had more time to finish,” the Maskwacis youth told Red Deer provincial court Judge Jim Glass, explaining that he was going to school while in custody.

“I know when I get out I’m not going to be very good at staying out of trouble. I was wondering if I could get 10 months,” he said from the Edmonton Young Offender Centre through a closed-circuit TV link.

Crown prosecutor Brittany Ashmore had suggested eight months of closed custody, four months of supervision and 12 months of probation.

She pointed to an “uneviable record,” including convictions for careless use of a firearm, pointing a firearm, assault and other charges.

Glass seemed to agree that time spent in the Young Offender Centre was as beneficial as punitive.

“It appears he does flourish somewhat in the institutional setting at this point,” he said.

Glass sentenced the youth, whose name is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, to six months in closed custody and three months of supervision. He will also be on probation for 12 months.

The youth had earlier pleaded guilty to robbery and failing to comply with court-imposed conditions.

He and another youth had gone into a Red Deer liquor store in late February to shoplift some liquor.

They grabbed two bottles of Grey Goose Vodka and when confronted by a store clerk the teen appearing in court on Thursday pulled out a small paring knife. One demanded cash but they did not get any before they fled.

One youth was picked up during a traffic stop in Maskwacis. The young robber at the centre of Thursday’s court proceedings was not in the car but was arrested soon after and has been in custody since Feb. 25.

Defence lawyer Michael Scrase said in his dealings with his young client he found him friendly and polite and he comes across as a “smart young man.”

But he seems like two different people depending on whether he’s in custody or out, Scrase said.

The youth told the parole employee working on his pre-sentence report for the judge that he had difficult seeing the long-term consequences of his actions.

Fetal alcohol syndrome may be involved but it was unclear if he had ever been checked. The judge recommended that assessment be made while the teen was in custody.

While the youth may have been the victim of a bad childhood, he was not the victim of a robbery.

Three women who were in the store when it was robbed told the court how the crime had changed their lives through their victim impact statements.

One said after the robbery she had trouble sleeping and was afraid to be alone. She was given counselling arranged by her company and her doctor prescribed medication.

Another said she was afraid to work alone.

“I am scared if they are released they will come back for vengeance,” she wrote in her statement read by the Crown prosecutor.

The other also feared working alone, had trouble sleeping and worried that the robbers may return.

Given the seriousness of the crime, the judge ordered that a DNA sample be taken for a national database and that the teen be banned for life from having weapons. He also approved an order for Child and Family Services to get involved.

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