Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Program

What is FASD?

FASD is a term that describes the range of effects that can be caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.

FASD is among the leading causes of cognitive and developmental disability among children in Canada. FASD can affect individuals of all races, ages, cultures, classes, genders and sexualities. Children and youth with FASD often appear more capable than they are, and often are unlikely to recognize their own strengths/needs.

Children and youth living with FASD are more likely to have mental health issues, substance use and other health, social and behavioural problems, disrupted school experiences, and be in conflict with the law because of misunderstanding of their brain differences and brain function.

What is the FASD consultants role?
  • Help families to connect to services and other community supports/resources
  • Provide education/training to parents, families, community and professionals about FASD using the neural behavioural, brain-based approach created by Diane Malbin
  • Support and facilitate a circle of care to create an accommodation plan that supports child/youth in all environments.

The neurobehavioural approach
  • Builds on people’s strengths
  • Defines FASD as a brain-based, physical disability
  • Based on the understanding that behaviours reflect a person’s brain functioning
  • Identifies that traditional behaviour management strategies often don’t work as they are based on learning theory which assumes that a person’s brain functions a certain way
  • Focuses on changing the environment around a person, not changing the person – they cannot change how their brain works differently.

Who is suitable for the program?
  • Children and youth who have a formal diagnosis of FASD or have suspected FASD
  • Children and youth under the age of 18, and young people between the ages of 18 and 21, who remain in school.

How do I access the FASD consultant?

Children/youth diagnosed with FASD or suspected to have FASD, and their caregivers can self-refer by calling the FASD Consultant directly at 705-566-3416. A staff member from a community agency, which the child/youth is connected with, can also make a referral on their behalf with their consent. Once we receive the referral, the FASD Consultant will contact the youth/caregiver directly to determine eligibility and discuss next steps.

"[The] worker was very helpful in working around our work schedules."