FASD Justice and Reconciliation: Tough Questions, New Collaborations

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

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Final Report- FASD Justice & Reconciliation (final 07-17)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe a spectrum of physical, neurological, cognitive, socio-emotional, and behavioural impairments that may result from prenatal exposure to alcohol. In addition to these impairments, secondary challenges (such as involvement with the criminal justice system) may be experienced in the absence of appropriate supports and services. FASD is often discussed in the context of the criminal justice system, as individuals with FASD are understood to be overrepresented in the justice system.

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released 94 Calls to Action, directed at various levels of government and to all Canadians. TRC Calls to Action 33 and 34 specifically address FASD. The Calls to Action provided an opportunity to bring together policy makers, front-line workers, parents/caregivers, and students to discuss how the TRC can be considered in justice…

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Alcoholism among adults Americans rose 49% in 2000s: New US study


A new US study has found that the rate of alcoholism among adult American adults has climbed by nearly 50 percent in the first decade of the 2000s, adding that one in eight adults or 12.7 percent of the US population meets diagnostic criteria for ‘alcohol use disorder.’

Authors of the research study, published in this month’s issue of JAMA Psychiatry, described the findings as a grim though overlooked public health crisis, underlining that alcoholism remains a major contributor to mortality from a wide variety of ailments such as “fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer and infections, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and various injuries.”

This is while the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 88,000 US residents die of alcohol-related causes each year, which is “more than twice the annual death toll of opiate overdose,” The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The study tracked drinking patterns among 40,000 Americans between the years of 2002 and 2003, and then again from 2012 to 2013 to establish a long-term picture of their habits. The results were described as alarming, especially in light of other substance abuse crises afflicting the US.

It was conducted by researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, and relied on strictly controlled self-reporting of drinking habits. While no clear reason was cited for the increase, the study authors said it constitutes a “public health crisis” resembling the current national opioid crisis.

“Most important, the findings…highlight the urgency of educating the public, policymakers, and health care professionals about high-risk drinking and [alcohol use disorders], destigmatizing these conditions and encouraging those who cannot reduce their alcohol consumption on their own..to seek treatment,” the study emphasizes.

The study’s statistics are even more bleak for specific groups. It points out, for instance, that alcohol use disorders have nearly doubled (92.8 percent) among the African American population, and hiked nearly 84 percent among female subjects.

However, the highest increase in alcohol abuse disorders was detected among the US elderly. Individuals 65 and older witnessed a whopping 107-percent growth in alcohol use disorders from 2002/2003 to 2012/2013. For 45- to 65-year-olds, the rate of increase was also high, standing at 81.5 percent.

The findings came as US President Donald Trump stated recently that the ongoing opioid crisis is a national public health emergency. A White House panel announced last week that 142 Americans die from drug overdoses every day, prompting Trump to make such a declaration.

Retrieved from:  http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/12/531554/US-research-study-American-adults-alcoholism-public-health-crisis-JAMA-Psychiatry

Back To School Tips: Help reset your child’s internal clock before school starts


I have fond memories of my children excitedly preparing for each new school year. With a brand-new pair of tennis shoes and backpack, they looked forward to the new school year with both eager anticipation and trepidation.

Although buying our kids new school supplies may help tip the scale towards eager anticipation for back to school, it’s much more important to help children to prepare for their school year by making sure they’re well rested. You can help your children get off to a good start by readjusting their sleep schedule before school begins.

While the first few weeks of school are exciting, they are also stressful as your child adjusts to new experiences, people and classes. Being well rested can help children make the transition, cutting down on some of the stress and ensuring that they are ready to face the challenges, to focus and to learn.

Now that summer’s over

During the long summer break, many children have gotten used to sleeping in simply “because it’s vacation.” Family trips and summer activities often throw off the schedules of even the most diligent parents. Children may have gotten into the pattern of staying up late and sleeping late. If this problem isn’t corrected before school starts, children are likely to struggle as they adjust to an earlier schedule.

Parents can help re-set their children’s internal clocks and correct this problem so they’re ready for school. Here’s how:

I suggest that for a week before school starts, you move up bedtime by 15-30 minutes. But simply having children go to sleep earlier won’t solve the problem as long as they are still getting up late — it’s also important that you consistently wake your kids up earlier. To motivate your children to get out of bed, it often helps if you create a reason for them to have to get up in the morning. It would be ideal to have them spend time outside — the early morning sunshine helps to reset the internal clock.

The first week that you wake your children up earlier can cause them to be tired and sleep deprived — however, if you continue to firmly enforce the wake-up time, your child should begin to naturally fall asleep earlier. By beginning this process a week before school starts, your kids will have the advantage of being well rested and ready to learn, starting from the very first day of school.

Are they getting enough sleep?

When kids have trouble getting out of bed on their own in the morning, are grouchy, and/or have irritable or moody behavior during the day, it’s very likely that they need more sleep. Insufficient sleep affects mood, immunity and the ability to learn. Ideally, children should consistently go to bed at the same time every night.

Even on the weekends, bedtime should not vary by more than one hour a night or a total of two hours for the entire weekend. If it does, you’re setting your child up for a sort of jet lag when Monday morning rolls around.

Here’s the breakdown

Before school starts:

  1. Move bedtime up by 15 to 30 minutes one week before school starts.
  2. Consistently wake kids up earlier during the week before school starts.
  3. Motivate children to get out of bed by creating fun reasons for them to get going. For example, plan an early morning treasure hunt, a picnic breakfast at the park or a back to school breakfast with friends.
  4. Be sure your child spends time outside in the morning — early morning sunshine helps to reset the internal clock.

In addition, here are some sleep prep tips that may help with the back to school transition:

  1. Allow time for a leisurely bedtime routine.
  2. Have a consistent bedtime.
  3. Warn your children five to ten minutes before they need to get ready for bed so they can wrap up what they’re doing.
  4. Have quiet activities before bed. (Limit television, video games and computer time.)
  5. Avoid caffeinated drinks in the late afternoon and evening.
  6. Teach your children relaxation techniques to help them relax and fall asleep.


Retrieved from: http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/7433/help-reset-your-child-s-internal-clock-before-school-starts

Do you have some special tricks up your sleeve in getting your children ready for back to school? Share them with us!

2nd Annual ‘Will You Take The Challenge FASD Day 2017’

Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society

FASD Tshirt 2017 large

In celebration that every brain is different, we are challenging our Members, Stakeholders, and Community to plan their own FASD Day events, big or small, that help to inform people about FASD and its prevention and assist in promoting understanding, compassion, and knowledge.

So what are the rules? Very simple, as an individual or team, plan an event the week of September 4th – September 9th, 2017. It could be a ‘Lunch And Learn’, a coffee meet-up, distributing information packages to friends, family members, colleagues… The sky is only limited by your creativity!

The rules:

  • Plan, host, participate in an event big or small that brings awareness to FASD.
  • Take pictures during your event! Please ensure appropriate permissions are received as pictures will be posted on numerous social media platforms.
  • Write up a short paragraph about what you did, who helped you, who you talked to, and any other interesting…

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MOFAS: Keeping Routines for Children with an FASD


keeping routines for children with an FASD

Having a routine for children with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can help reduce stress and anxiety. Children with an FASD have permanent brain injuries that can impact communication, understanding, responses to stress, and more. It can help your child overcome these brain injury symptoms, and stay calm more easily, to know what to expect, where they are going, and who they’ll be with.

Here are some tips for keeping a routine for your child with an FASD:


Plan out your day

Planning out your child’s day, to the extent you can, can help alleviate stress. Children with an FASD might have fears of the unknown. It can be helpful to talk about daily activities and what your child can expect. When kids know what is to come, they often have an easier time with transitions. Check the MOFAS Pinterest page for ideas on how to make your own charts and calendars. You can also try to plan ahead to address things you know might cause anxiety for a child. For example, if you’re headed somewhere where you expect a crowd, and you know your child gets anxious in that situation, you and your child can plan what they can use as fidgets, safe spaces, and breathing techniques that will help them stay calm.


Use alarms and timers to help keep track of time

Children with an FASD can have a hard time knowing the difference between one minute, five minutes, or 30 minutes. To help your child manage time, you can use visual timers, markings on the face of an analog clock, auditory timers, and alarms. Setting times for brushing teeth, taking a shower, or even getting ready for school can help your child stay on track. Create a sense of time with the help from FAS Link.


Give clear instructions

If you ask a child without an FASD to do their homework, they’ll understand what that means. But a child with an FASD may need to have all those steps broken down. “Do your homework” could be described in steps using the “first – then” approach like this:

To do your homework:

  • First, find your backpack.
  • Then, take out your homework assignment.

Next, do your assignment:

  • First, grab your pencil.
  • Then, write your assignment.

Lastly, you’ll need to put everything away:

  • First, put the homework and pencil back in your backpack.
  • Then, put your backpack by the door for the morning.

Kids with an FASD need to have a clear understanding of all the steps. For additional ideas on how to help a child with an FASD handle routines, check out The Autism Helper.



Days fluctuate. Schedules won’t always be perfect, and there will be meltdowns and other setbacks. That’s okay. If you can, allow time for improvising, taking things a little slower, and rebounding. And if you notice a certain routine isn’t working, you may want to try making some changes. Things won’t work every time, what works for some may not work for others, and what works one day may not work another day. Trust your instinct on what your child needs. And as hard as it is, taking care of yourself as much as you can help you stay flexible and creative when things aren’t going as planned.

Retrieved from: https://www.mofas.org/2017/06/keeping-routines-children-fasd/

What to do with Kids at the Chautauqua Tent at Festival Place August 5-20


There’s something exciting coming to Sherwood Park – and it just might be your easy answer to ‘What are we going to do today?’ in the last month of summer – and your last month of entertaining the kids. Between August 5th and 20th, you can celebrate Canada 150 under The Chautauqua Tent just outside of Festival Place with free family activities daily and ticketed evening performances (hello, date night!).

A Chautauqua Tent is a traveling institution from early 20th Century Canada. This two week event features daily cultural activities and recreational opportunities. All morning and afternoon activities are FREE. Evening performances require tickets which can be purchased through Festival Place.

Kid-Friendly Events at the Chautauqua Tent

Teddy Bear Picnic | August 7, 10 am
Teddy bears, face-painting and more! Bring your teddy bears and lets have some fun! It’s a great way to kick off the celebrations for the Chautauqua tent, and learn more about the programming, the history and the community.

Watch a Science Demonstration | August 6, 2 pm
A bit of this and that… ‘So This is Science’ aims to spark the imagination and a desire for learning. Participate in a variety of demonstrations for the “fun of science.”

See a Circus Performance | August 6, 7:30 pm
Masterful Juggler & Comedian Aytahn Ross and Mesmerizing Magician Ryan Pilling LIVE onstage under the big top at Festival Place, featuring the energized Under the Big Top Youth Ensemble. Immerse yourself in a circus variety show for kids of all ages! Click on the event for ticket purchase information!

Owl and Bug Presentation | August 9, 10 am
John Acorn will give a presentation on insects complete with a song. In addition, you can bring the kids to see an owl presentation, where Gord Court will be bringing in an Owl and talking a little bit about the Alberta bird and wildlife population.

Learn to Weave | August 9th, 12 pm
Join the Spinners and Weavers for an introduction to weaving class for kids. This is a fun and interactive way for the kids to get some hands on time with textiles.

Games Galore | August 12, 10 am
The large dinosaur puzzle as well as the large backyard games include, ker-plunk, jenga, connect 4, bean bag toss and X’s and O’s. Beyond Board Games will be providing an assortment of games for families to enjoy!

Puppet Workshop | August 17, 10 am

Young Festival Place performers offer a workshop in puppet building and performance. Materials will be available.

Under the Sea Music Class | August 18th, 12 pm
Join Little Mozarts for UNDER THE SEA group music classes at the Chautauqua Tent this August! Get ready for deep-water exploring with Mozart the Monkey , dancing to the music with movement scarves and parachute, all while learning to play small instruments like rhythm sticks, shakers, bells and drums

Take a Ukelele Class | August 18, 1 pm
The Ukelele Is the friendliest instrument in the world to play and rapid progress will motivate you to pick it up and learn. Ukeleles will be available for you to give it a try!2pm-3pm: Ukelele Circle. Jam in an Ukelele circle with established players and fellow novices. Bring your own Ukelele or use one we provide!

Family Fun Day | August 20
There will be a Penny Carnival, Giant dinosaur puzzles, chalk drawing, stilt walkers and life size-board games available throughout the day for the whole family to take part in

All of the activities through the day are free, but some require parents to register ahead of time. Register early in the festival to save your spot! See the full calendar of events, here.

Retrieved from:  http://www.raisingedmonton.com/kids-chautauqua-tent-festival-place-85-820/



How bad will it get? A father’s pleas for drug-addicted children across Canada


An Ottawa father of a teen girl who has struggled with drug addiction for more than two years says his daughter is finally in treatment, but he says too many families are struggling to get help for their kids.

Sean O’Leary made headlines in February, when he wrote an open letter about the struggle he has faced trying to keep his daughter Paige away from drugs.

In a lengthy Facebook post, O’Leary wrote of how, since his 16-year-old daughter started using drugs at parties, he has spent every night worrying about her.

He called on other parents living similar nightmares to come together to support each other and find ways to fight the drug crisis that he says is not just affecting those in seedy corners of the country’s biggest cities, but in suburbs across Canada.

“This issue or crisis is happening pretty much across our country,” he told CTV News Channel Monday from his home in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

“The question is how bad will it get before it peaks or before we can start turning this around.”

Since his Facebook letter went viral, O’Leary has continued to advocate for better drug treatment for teens like his, forming a group called “We The Parents” to fight for changes, including the chronic shortage of youth detox beds in hospitals.

O’Leary’s daughter knows she has a problem and when she is free from drugs, she supports her father’s advocacy efforts. But things change when she begins using again.

“At times, it’s been very good. But at other times, when she’s struggled, it’s not been good,” O’Leary said.

In his February letter, O’Leary wrote that he has spent thousands of dollars on psychologists and counselling for his daughter, but she continues to waver between periods of being clean and relapse.

In late June, O’Leary described on Facebook “12 nightmare days,” in which his daughter left the house and went on a binge of cocaine and other drugs. A trip to a local hospital ended in a a quick discharge, so he resorted to taking away his daughter’s phone and not allowing her to leave the house.

He said he “basically detoxed her without her permission,” until she found a hidden phone and called 911. Police informed O’Leary that, because Paige was 16, she was free to go where she chose – a situation that left O’Leary frustrated.

“The laws in place make it hard for parents to get help for their kids who don’t want the help,” he said. “It’s just very difficult.”

Shortly after O’Leary posted that letter, he learned that Paige had been accepted for long-term treatment at CHEO, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

O’Leary said he believes the fact that he runs “We The Parents” gave him leverage to get his daughter help.

“But even with that, it was so difficult,” he said. “…I think if I hadn’t had the media attention I had at that point, I don’t think I would have even gotten her in that day.”

Much more needs to be done to ensure that teens who need drug treatment get access to it, even when they are old enough to refuse treatment, O’Leary says.

“Substance use disorder is a chronic disease,” he said, with a relapse rate he estimates is close to 100 per cent.

“I mean, a lot of them try. Unfortunately, our system right now doesn’t give them a very easy path if they want to get better.”

Retrieved from:  http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/how-bad-will-it-get-a-father-s-pleas-for-drug-addicted-children-across-canada

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