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It’s back-to-school season, and with that comes IEPs, IPRC, 504s, and education plans! If the terms or process are confusing and frustrating, we have covered you in this week’s podcast with Mark Courtepatte – one of the most popular Insider Experts in our CKS Coaching Program. But you don’t have to be in the program now to hear his expertise!We talk about how Mark met Savanna, his partner who has FASD, how they became involved with the Hamilton Parents and Caregivers Support group that he co-chair, and how his interest in the education sector developed.This episode is full of insight on how to work collaboratively with teachers and the school board. Mark is just as comfortable talking to the Minister of Children and Community Services as he is too overwhelmed by caregivers or children with FASD. You will find out why he thinks 99% of IEPs are not worth the paper they are written and gives you some concrete steps to follow from being confused and not sure how to proceed to become the confident advocate for your child. He provides some suggested rebuttals to resistance and gives you a gauge to know if the plan is working. You are going to find out why his workshops are one of the most popular in our CKS program.Be sure to check out the show notes for a link to our blog where you can find his awesome support group website.Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success.Support the show
Tigger Warning: Incarceration, Suicide, Trauma, and Sexual Assault This unique episode has some critical information about how systemic barriers and failures can result in adverse outcomes for individuals with FASD. We will leave the detail for the episode, but we want to give you a general idea about the content. First up, I want to thank Shawn for being brave and vulnerable in sharing his story. Rhonda also has my deep respect for supporting and loving him through this process, while also recognizing the impact and harm on the victim.  Rhonda has worked in the child welfare system for 30 years. She was first introduced to FASD in her personal life when she provided respite for Debbie and Bill Michaud (both former podcast guests). Eventually, she raised 8 individuals (most with FASD) and supported a variety of their friends and family along the way, which is how she came to know Shawn. My hope in sharing Rhonda and Shawn’s story is that caregivers will gain valuable tips for supporting vulnerable individuals. I also hope it shines a light for professionals on what can happen where there is no diagnosis and no access to informed services. When we assume a person “looks normal and talks normal”, we put them into situations where they can fail. When they fail, someone gets hurt. They get charged and the charges can be serious.  Now we are left with families in ruins where the failure was in fact not the individual, but systemic from years and years ago.  There have been some hard lessons in Shawn's story but there have been some silver linings. No matter what happens in Court, we hope that Shawn and his victim find healing.  Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
When I ask caregivers what the one thing they’d like to change is – physical health is at the top of that list for many. That is why I invited Stephanie Burns onto the Show. Stephanie has a degree in Physical and Health Education and runs Burns Fitness. She and her husband have 4 kids, 2 with neurodiverse needs. On top of that, she undertook a program to lose 100 pounds and get fit. So she gets it. Stephanie also talks about the reality of having kids and the effect not being in good health can have on caregiving. She gives ideas on incorporating all this with a busy household and kids with neurodiverse needs. She also gives you a five-point plan to follow and a piece of wise advice on what to say when you are in the trenches and might be hard on yourself.   I know she is good at what she does because Tara and I are in her program. And because she has been in the trenches, I wanted her to share her knowledge with you.  Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD SuccessSupport the show
If you’ve attended any of my presentations, taken my CKS Coaching Course or followed me for a while you will know one of my sayings is “I’m not a doctor, a lawyer or a social worker,” but my guest today is a social worker and she just happens to be my wife and business partner – Tara Soucie-Noble.  Tara does much of the behind-the-scenes work - with our daughter and our business - but she had a long career working with individuals with FASD, was a foster parent with me, and has worked with a variety of populations who have intensive housing support needs.  In this episode you will hear her perspective on our marriage, time as foster parents and on how incredibly lucky we are to share what we know with other caregivers. She is also going to share her insight how caregivers can support each other, how to survive in the moment and what individuals with FASD need for successful interdependent living. I want to acknowledge that Tara is a big part of our community. Without her, there would be no business and no Show. In fact, she will be taking on a bigger role come September and I can’t wait for more awesomeness she will bring to help caregivers.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit more and enjoy our banter back and forth! Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
Today’s show is a show of firsts. You will learn how Tristan and Scott Casson-Rennie first met, how they became the first same-sex couple to adopt through the agency they used, their trials and tribulations as they navigated parenthood with first a sibling group and then a third child added to the mix, how they created their first organization together called FASD Ireland, and what the first item Scott asked for after coming out of surgery.  You will also learn about their partnership with the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, the barriers to starting a new venture in a culture of alcohol acceptance, Scott’s involvement with the Adoption and Fostering Podcast, and a recent serious health condition that changed their perceptions on life and created an unexpected change in one of their sons. This was a fun interview as well as an enlightening one. I love to hear what is going on in different parts of the world. Despite cultural differences caregivers around the world have so much in common. While you may not be able to start your own organization, I hope you will be inspired by Scott and Tristan and find something you can take into your everyday caregiving that helps you meet with more success. Be sure to check out the Show Notes for a link to our blog if you want to give them a follow or get in touch. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD SuccessSupport the show
You may have heard talk in the FASD world about a new documentary in the making, Embraced: Truth about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. I wanted to find out the details so invited the three principals on the project to talk about it.  Joel Sheagren is the Director with Jodee Kulp and Justen Overlander co-producing. Joel has a 30-year background in advertising and is a parent to a young man on the Spectrum. Jodee is an author, advocate, both an individual with and parent of a loved one with FASD, co-founder of the Red Shoes Rock movement, and returning guest. Justen is a former teacher who also works in the film industry.You will find out what the project is all about, how it will be different from other films about FASD and how you can help support Embraced. And if you stay until the end of the Show, you will find out what challenge Jeff issues to Joel! You can find all the links on our blog. Link in the Show Notes below.Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
Another first for The FASD Success Show – You Asked and Jeff Answers! I contacted caregivers in our private Facebook Group and Email Newsletter to find out what questions they wanted answers to. I received so many that I couldn’t decide which to feature, so I randomly picked eight and will save the rest for a future episode.  It’s important to recognize I am not a doctor, lawyer, or social worker. I have lived experience, and education, and have interviewed many individuals with FASD, researchers, and professionals in the field, and coached hundreds of families. I like to say, you are the expert on your child, I’m an advisor.  In this episode you will find out more information on the importance of a diagnosis, neurofeedback, my top 2 takeaways from interviewing adults on the Spectrum and why understanding FASD as a Spectrum is important, toileting, swearing, plans for workshops or gatherings, survivor guilt for siblings, and regression in young adults. So grab a pen and paper, get comfy, and get some answers. Thank you to everyone who sent in the questions. Let me know if you like this format. Cause if you do, we will definitely do it again.  Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
Have you ever wanted to share your story and experience with the world? Let others in on your lessons learned and hope they find comfort knowing they aren’t alone in their journey? That’s exactly what my guest, Jillana Goble has done – for a second time, with her new book: A Love Stretched Life, Stories on Wrangling Hope, Embracing the Unexpected and Discovering the Meaning of Family. In this episode, Jillana reflects on her journey to fostering, and what she learned along the way, including the difference between how children are presented in the foster system versus the reality and how shifting their expectations allowed them to thrive, survive and grow as a family.   We wrap up talking about the critical conversations and shift in mindset she feels needs to happen in the foster care system to better prepare foster and adoptive parents, along with her best advice for prospective and adoptive parents. We also touch on how she self-regulates and why she stays off social media. Jillana has crafted a collection of personal stories that will serve as a guidepost for caregivers who need to navigate the often-tumultuous terrain of fostering, adoption, and raising a neurodiverse child in a world that doesn’t quite understand.   Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
Aggression is one of the biggest concerns I hear from caregivers. Why does it happen, how to respond and how to manage or stop it.   It is such a concern that researchers have noticed and are now looking at it in more detail. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Jacqueline Pei, Dr. Mansfield Mela, and Jessica Joseph about their recently published paper: Aggressive behavior and violence in children and adolescents with FASD: A synthesizing review. Behaviour, including aggression, is communication. This paper will give you some starting points to look at what might be driving that behavior. Kids are not getting up in the morning saying they want to be an a**hole. Our job is to figure out what is going on and how we can respond with more understanding and bring professionals on board to help. For more information and a link to the Review, check out our blog post (link in Show Notes). Show Notes: Check out our website: FASD Success Support the show
Life as an FASD Caregiver is challenging enough – but what about when you have to leave everything you have ever known, first to seek immediate safety, then as a refugee to another country and then apply as a refugee yet again – all in the space of three months, while raising two daughters, one with FASD. We first met Olga and Serhii Bolshova, a family I interviewed days after Russia invaded Ukraine in Episode 97:  Olga and Serhii: An FASD Family on the Front Lines in Ukraine. Olga is an alumnus of our CKS! Caregiver Kick-start Coaching Program and was beginning her journey to help build an FASD community in her homeland when war was declared. You may remember on the night they were to flee from their home, Olga had Serhii and the girls waiting in the car as she wrapped up an FASD training session on Zoom!  It’s been a few months and their adventures continue. Many of you wondered how they are, so once I found out they were in Ontario, I knew I had to take a drive down to see them.  Check out the episode to find out about life in a refugee camp in Poland, how they have been welcomed into Canada and what their next steps are. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
In Part 1 of my conversation with Jessica Birch, an FASD advocate and adult on the Spectrum, we covered her advocacy and journey to get a diagnosis. In Part 2 we talk about life after the diagnosis. She gives us insight on how she copes with her symptoms and what you can do as a caregiver to help your loved ones. In Part 2 we cover: interdependence, impulsivity, emotional regulation, expectations struggles to be taken seriously as an advocate and be accommodated importance of a diagnosis and consequences of not getting one I want to thank Jessica for her honesty and openness in sharing her story. I hope that by listening to this episode, your learning curve will be lessened, you can build deeper relationships with your kids and see a hopeful future. But more importantly, understand that FASD doesn’t define a person.  With individuals like Jessica speaking up, and those who support and advocate alongside us, we are raising the voices and awareness. Change is coming. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
Imagine feeling like the world doesn’t want you. No matter what you do, or try, no one wants to be your friend. You are misunderstood and dismissed by medical professionals. You are hurting so much physically and emotionally that you start to think you no longer want to live. That is the dark place my guest, Jessica Birch, found herself in before receiving her FASD diagnosis. If you have ever wished your child could tell you how they feel, then this is the episode for you. If you are an individual with FASD needing to hear from others with FASD, this is the episode for you. There is so much to Jessica’s story I wanted to give it the space it deserved to be shared, so we are splitting it into two Parts.  In Part One, we explore what it was like growing up undiagnosed. Despite having a supportive mom, she shares what life was like without a diagnosis, as a child, and teen and what happened when she tried to make it on her own.  This may be a difficult episode to listen to because of the intensity. But I think it offers inspiration because we know that with the diagnosis, support, knowledge and understanding, Jessica is thriving. And that is what we will talk about in Part 2. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
Would you agree the best learning comes from caregivers who have walked the FASD journey? Today, I’m talking with Judy Pakozdy, who has 45 years’ worth of FASD knowledge, training, and caregiving experience.  Judy was a pediatric head nurse in Whitehorse (Yukon, Canada), a founding member of the FAS Society of Yukon, and served as its Executive Director for 12 years. She is also a mom to Matthew, an adult with FASD. In this episode, I talk to Judy about the journey she and Matthew have been on, her thoughts on where FASD is now, where it should be and we do a step by step review of a poster she and Matthew just created called: Reminders for Parents/Caregivers and People with FASD and other Neuro Development Disabilities. Make sure to check out our blog (link in the Show Notes) to hear the podcast I did with Matthew and download a copy of their poster. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show (
Today’s show is an inspirational story of what determination, advocacy and drive can achieve! It is the story of Maryelen Mcphail, a foster and adoptive mom and her daughter Paula, co-founders of Oshay’s, an FASD organization, in Scotland.   You will hear their journey to getting a diagnosis and the roadblocks they encountered before and after from their unique perspective as mom and daughter. We also find out how they used those blocks as stepping stones to help others. What started as home-based advocacy has turned into a charity and a Center to help other families in Scotland with programs and supports. Make sure you stay tuned to the end you to hear my surprise and delight that we share a favourite activity, which not only provides bonding time for them as a family, but also provides regulation for both kids and adults!  Don’t forget to visit our blog (link in Show Notes) for links to connect with Oshay’s.  Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show (
We know prenatal alcohol exposure is a risk factor for FASD. We have studies on high levels of prenatal alcohol exposure - but what about low levels? Up until now, we have not had a study to share showing how low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure can affect the brain and behaviour. My guest today, Dr. Catherine Lebel, is going to talk about a recently released study that examined altered brain structure and function in children with low levels of PAE. And don't worry, we break it all down so you can understand the information to use in your advocacy. We have the who, what, where  why and how:Who and how many the study involved?Why this study is needed.What the study examined and what the results were.Where this will lead us.How you can use this information in your advocacy.Dr. Lebel also updates us on her FASD and Mental Health research project. You can check out a previous podcast we did on this: MRIs and the FASD Brain with Dr. Catherine Lebel. They still need participants, so check out the Show Notes for a link to our blog.This is really exciting and groundbreaking research. We now have some science to back up what we are saying. I also asked Dr. Lebel what motivates her to keep going – and one of the things is YOU , the CAREGIVERS! So, keep advocating and keep involved. You are part of the change we are seeing.Support the show (
This is an interesting and inspirational episode with my good friend Jeremy Elliott and his godson William. It is a unique tale of how a family bond, love of sports, and a mentoring mindset, made a positive difference in the life of an individual with FASD.  Jeremy is a martial arts champion and owns United Family Marshal Arts in Niagara Falls (Ontario, Canada). He is also a pro wrestler. In fact, Pro Wrestling Insider has listed him as one of the Top 500.  We talk about Jeremy’s journey growing up with a single mom who inspired him to follow his dreams and in turn help others. We talk about his success in and outside of the ring, including how he has advocated and supported William throughout the years and his new focus: to raise broader FASD awareness using red wrestling boots and launching the Embrace our Journey campaign.   William shares his perspective on growing up with FASD and how sports have helped him. Just as Jeremy was inspired by the Karate Kid, William has his own inspiration for finding his first passion (football) after a chance meeting with Jamal Campbell. He told him, “I’m going to be a lineman-like you.”  This is a great story of overcoming odds and dedication to passion. To how finding and nurturing strengths can help individuals with FASD grow and thrive. This is a journey of understanding, compassion, resilience, and embracing the journey. I can’t wait to see where these two go next. I may not be on the road with them, but I will be getting the t-shirt. If you want to follow them, or get the t-shirt, check out the Show Notes for a link to our blog. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show
This is a big episode! In fact, my guest in today’s episode is affectionately known as “Big Papa”. That’s right – I finally made a connection with Bryan Post and I couldn’t be more stoked to bring his message to my audience.  Bryan is a child behavior expert and founder of the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy. The Post Institute works with adults, children, and families struggling with early life trauma and the impact on the development of the mind/body system. A renowned clinician, lecturer, and author, Bryan has traveled throughout the world providing expert treatment and consultation.  While we discuss topics we have covered many times before, such as why the connection is more important than correction, how we need to be regulated before we can expect our kids to be, and how trauma and attachment express themselves, In this episode, you are going to likely learn some new and different ways to look at your kids and your caregiving experience.  It was cool to finally connect with Bryan. I love hearing different stories, and finding out how we are the same and different. In fact, in this episode, we collaborate and move from looking at prenatal alcohol exposure as a triple to a quadruple “threat.”   No matter the approach or path, we ultimately have the same desire and goal: to help you – the caregiver - achieve more success so you can have better days and relationships with your kids.  Be sure to check out the Show Notes to find a link to our Blog where you can find links to more information on this episode and The Post Institute.  Show Notes: Check out our website: FASD Success Support the show (
My guest today, Sandra Butcher, the Chief Executive of the National Organization for FASD (U.K.) said it best: Every victory for FASD in any part of the world is a victory for all of us. And after a growing movement from many organizations and individuals in the U.K. after decades of actions, so much has happened that has pushed FASD recognition into the forefront.  Sandy and her husband are parents to two young people, one with an FASD diagnosis. We talk about that early journey for her son, how she came from the States to head up the National FASD organization, the events leading up to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard, and the recently released Time is Now publication. Not sure about you, but I was exhausted hearing all that was going on. And that isn’t all, in between all that, we squeeze in discussions around the pub culture, media portrayal and stigma, cost of FASD, and educating professionals. As Sandy says, there are people of goodwill all over the place who realize how important it is that we haven’t yet as Society fully addressed what is going on. But they just need to know how to connect with each other.  Big shout out to everyone in the UK (past and present) that has been a part of this process to get the UK to where it is today. For more information on the items we discussed, be sure to check out the Show Notes below.  Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show (
This episode is a celebration. It marks the 100th episode of The FASD Success Show but more importantly, and on a personal note, it brings me to the person who was the catalyst for my own professional FASD journey – Donna Debolt. This will also be a 100-timer episode. It is filled with so many aha moments, thought-provoking questions and insight gained over 32 years.  Donna is a social worker and translated 30 years working in Child Protection into becoming an outspoken advocate for individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. In her role as an FASD Specialist, Donna challenges the Systems to develop and implement prevention, intervention, and management strategies so that families and communities can successfully cope and plan for meaningful futures for these individuals with complex needs. The critical message emerging from her work is the need to establish sound FASD Informed Practice to support the often-complex needs of children, adolescents, and adults with FASD. Donna believes that most innovative programs are created through collaboration and through sharing experiences and skills we will create improved outcomes for individuals and their families. I can’t begin to tell you what an honour it was to have Donna agree to come on the Show. Although she is a fantastic presenter, she shies away from interviews. I think you will agree there was no better person to be my number 100 than Donna.  For more information, you can check out the Blog on our website. Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show (
It isn’t often I endorse conferences, but the Insight Conference from the Honestly Adoption team is one that I do. And not just because I have been invited back to speak – but because Mike and Kristin Berry have put together another incredible lineup of speakers.  Mike says: The goal of Insight is to provide personal access to world-renowned experts who can give you practical insight into your child's trauma and how it affects their life and behaviors. You will also walk away with the tools to transform your parenting journey. If you’ve seen the conference advertised but haven’t decided, you need to do that soon, as it takes place on March 23 and 24. It’s all online so you don’t have to worry about hotels or travel costs. To sweeten the deal, even more, we have an exclusive offer just for our listeners. The more educated you become, the better you’ll become at understanding why your kids act the way they do, and then you will be better equipped to respond and accommodate. The Insight Conference will help you become an even better parent. And I’ll be there - welcoming you like an old friend. So, what are you waiting for? Listen to this special podcast right to the end, for the offer, and then head over to this special Insight Conference link to register.   Show Notes: Check out our blog for all the links at FASD Success Support the show (
Comments (2)

Olivia Grace N-M

Could not be more thrilled that this exists! So excited to share this with everyone I know!

Jan 3rd
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