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Professionals from across Waterloo Region who are participating in the FASD Community of Practice can access information in this area of the Waterloo Region FASD website.

Over time material will be added to this section.

Your ideas are welcome about how we can use this space to share ideas and increase our capacity for understanding the impact of FASD on children, youth and families living in Waterloo Region.

The Next Waterloo Region FASD CoP Event

Educational Strategies for FASD with Mary Cunningham

November 20, 2018 4-6pm

Waterloo Region District School Board- Main Office (51 Ardelt Avenue, Kitchener)

Mary Cunningham, B.Ed. P.H.Ec. has worked with parents, educators and other direct service professionals as a FASD educator and supporter since 2003 when she retired from a 30-year career as an Ontario secondary school teacher, department head, educational consultant, curriculum developer, and textbook author. (Parenting in Canada, 2003) Mary met FASD “head on” in 1998 in her 25th year of teaching when she realized that she was parenting a child with FASD. Parenting a young person with FASD changed her professional practice and underscores her current education and support efforts around success for students with FASD and the welfare of people with FASD in the justice system. She is published on both of these topics and has presented widely on FASD provincially, nationally and internationally. Mary is a member of the Waterloo Region FASD Action Group and the FASD Ontario Network of Expertise (FASD ONE). She is the current Lead of the FASD ONE Education Action Group (EAG). (

In this presentation participants will have an opportunity to:
-Learn to recognize students with FASD or potential FASD from a neurobehavioral perspective and understand reasons for the educationally difficult behaviours caused by Pre-natal Exposure to Alcohol (PAE).
-Learn about promising, new brain-based intervention and support strategies now starting to produce school success
for students with FASD; and why it is essential to make personal “paradigm shifts” in order to support all students with
FASD, diagnosed or suspected.
-Review the best resources and strategies available to implement the personal and system-wide changes necessary for implementing success for students who have or may have FASD.

RSVP to Karen Huber at or 519-741-1121 ext 2246

Past Presentations

Taming Stigma in FASD: Strategies for Our Community

FASD and Healthy Sexual Development

Communication Difficulties in Children with FASD

Helping Families Navigate Grief Associated with an FASD Diagnosis

FASD Informed Approach

FASD Assessment in Waterloo Region-

-team presentation

-pediatric presentation

Developmental Services for Individuals with an FASD

-adult services (DSO)

Explore Your Role in Prevention

Understanding the Sensory World Around You

The Fort: FASD Pilot Classroom

CoP 5 Day Training Kick Off 2013

September 12, 2013

Screening, Assessment and Diagnosis- Dr. Gail Andrew

Presentation Slides

This training is intended to give participants an understanding of prevention practices, screening of prenatal use of alcohol and diagnostic criteria used in Canada.

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand what research has informed about alcohol related brain damage

2. Understand the diagnostic process and role of the multidisciplinary team

3. Discuss how FASD can present across the lifespan

4. Recognize opportunities for prevention

5. Explore the need for interventions and support systems: current practices and research

Dr. Gail Andrew, MDCM FRCP(C), Member, Board of Directors, Canada Northwest FASD Research Network; Medical Site Lead - Pediatrics, Medical Director - FASD Clinical Services and Pediatric Consultant, Pediatric Programs, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

Dr. Gail Andrew completed her medical and pediatric training at McGill University and did further training and research in neonatology at the University of Alberta. She is currently Site Lead in Pediatrics at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Her main interest has been in the area of developmental, behavioral and emotional challenges of children, especially those with known at risk factors. She has been involved in all aspects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, including prevention, diagnostic assessments, interventions and support of individuals with FASD and their caregivers.

November 21, 2013

Fetal Alcohol/Neurobehavioral conditions (FA/NB)- Diane Malbin, M.S.W., R.S.W.

Presentation Slides

This training is intended to increase understanding of people from a neurobehavioral perspective, expand parenting and professional repertoires based on this knowledge, reduce challenging behaviors and improve outcomes

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss the logic model establishing FA as a brain-based physical condition

2. Identify examples of positive outcomes for people with FASD and how these are a result of - application of a brain-based approach to understanding and developing strategies

3. Use the neurobehavioral screening tool and define primary, secondary and tertiary behavioral characteristics of FA/NB

4. Understand how identification provides the basis for developing effective and appropriate accommodations to prevent challenging behaviors without limiting or inappropriately enabling

5. Recognize common overlapping DSM diagnoses – ADD/ADHD, LD, ASD, ODD and others-- and discuss the contributions and limitations of the DSM

6. Discuss the fit between standard behavioral interventions and FA/NB, and recognize why good techniques may not work

7. Understand the source of emotional reactions to neurobehavioral symptoms that clash with values and expectations

8. Understand application of a Functional Neurobehavioral Assessment to support developing person-specific accommodations in all settings.

Ms. Malbin is Director of FASCETS, Inc., a nonprofit organization located in Portland, Oregon. FASCETS educational and consultation services are based on a neurobehavioral framework that evolved from her clinical practice. Successful projects based on this approach have been conducted locally and internationally, including the Oregon FASD interventive study and the British Columbia, Canada, Province-wide cross-Ministry approach to addressing FASD. She has been invited to work in Norway, Ireland, England, across the US, Canada and the Northwest Territories, Australia, Tasmania and elsewhere. In addition, she has authored books and articles, developed training videos and the Into Action community training curricula designed to strengthen community capacity. The Oregon chapter of the National Association of Social Workers named Ms. Malbin Social Worker of the Year, 2005, and she is in the NOFAS Hall of Fame for her work in the field of FASD. She is parent of two adults with FA.

February 27, 2014

FASD and the Justice System: What are the Implications?- Sheila Burns

Presentation Slides

Offender risk assessment protocols have provided frameworks to direct interventions toward effective responses. A complex and complementary system has been developed in Ontario to address a variety of offending behaviours with options that respond to dynamic and static factors. Dealing with offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) has presented a unique challenge. Youth with FASD are 19x more likely to be in conflict with the law than their non-affected peers and this can lead to involvement in criminal justice system into adulthood. The severity of crimes doesn’t typically escalate but repeated offences and multiple breaches results in a revolving door of incarceration.

There is a growing recognition that the justice system needs to respond differently to victims and offenders with FASD. FASD is an organic brain injury. Absent of any physical dysmorphology, FASD is measured by impairments in multiple areas of brain function, areas that impact emotional and behavioural regulation, learning, social adaptation, and thinking and reasoning. This explains why some individuals become involved in the criminal justice system and why punishment is ineffective as a deterrent. It also directs us toward a more nuanced response that can contribute to better outcomes.

This workshop will explore FASD through the justice lens and identify steps that can ameliorate the poor outcomes commonly associated with the disability. The justice system can play a unique role in the assessment and support of offenders with FASD. Emerging research suggests that FASD training and screening can contribute to better case management, lower recidivism, and ultimately more productive lives and safer communities.

Learning Objectives

1. Understand why individuals with FASD are at increased risk for involvement in criminal activity, recidivism, false confessions and victimization.

2. Recognize the profile of youth who may have FASD using the Asante Youth Probation Officer FASD Screening and Referral Tool and describe the components for assessment and diagnosis.

3. Describe strategies to improve plans of care, probation orders, and case management for youth and adults with FASD or suspected of having the disorder.

Sheila Burns is a specialist in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder consulting and training in communities and agencies across Ontario and nationally. She focuses on building capacity within existing systems of care where individuals with the disability FASD live, learn, and work.

Sheila’s background in children’s mental health, justice, women’s issues, and community development position her uniquely to advance the holistic and collaborative approach required to prevent FASD and address the needs of individuals with the disability.

She was the recipient of the (2011-12) Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship and developed a framework for course curriculum for college and post graduate studies, engaged multiple stakeholder groups, and conducted research into the impact of FASD training and screening on practice (submitted for publication April 2013).

Sheila is a founding member and past chair of the FASD Ontario Network of Expertise and current Lead of the organization’s Justice Working Group.

May 29th and 30th, 2014

Improving Outcomes with Effective Strategies- Dan Dubovsky, M.S.W., R.S.W.

Presentation Slides

This two day training is intended to give participants effective strategies that will successfully enhance the lives of those living with FASD. An advanced understanding of the disability is required. This will be an interactive and experiential training.

Learning Objectives:

1. List reasons individuals may not do well with typical interventions

2. Discuss how not accurately recognizing FASD may lead to “failures”

3. Describe a paradigm shift in working with these individuals

4. Identify interventions that can potentially increase positive outcomes for individuals with FASD, their families, and the services that interface with them.

Dan Dubovsky, is currently the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) specialist for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence. In this role, he provides training and technical assistance to individuals, families, programs, agencies, communities, and states on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Mr. Dubovsky has 30 years experience in the mental health and developmental disabilities fields, beginning his career as a child care worker, then becoming a therapist in residential, inpatient, and outpatient treatment settings for children, adolescents, and young adults with serious mental illness and other disabilities. He developed an innovative community program to promote health, and has worked extensively with persons who are HIV infected, providing counseling, support and education. He is personally acquainted with the trials of children with FASD as his late son, Bill, whom he adopted at age six, suffered from multiple disabilities, including FAS. For the past decade, Mr. Dubovsky has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally on FASD focusing especially on interventions for children, adolescents, and adults. In his current role, he provides training and technical assistance to individuals, families, programs, agencies, communities, and states on FASD.

Developmental 	Services Resource Centre Waterloo RegionSunbeam Centre