Many Canadians are living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Although FASD is present from birth, individuals are often not diagnosed until later in life when symptoms related to learning challenges and a range of social problems emerge.
The bilingual Fetal Alcohol Resource Program aims to support the large numbers of people affected by this permanent physical disability. Through education and community leadership development the program draws together resources, skills and knowledge that exists in Ottawa and provides clinical support and community navigation for individuals with FASD and their families.
WHAT IS FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals with FASD will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living, and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges.” (CanFASD, 2019)
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DID YOU KNOW MORE THAN A MILLION CANADIANS COULD HAVE FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDER?
A recent study of Toronto area students (aged 7 to 9 years) found that 2%-3% have FASD (CAMH, 2018).
Many people with FASD are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with disorders such as Autism and ADHD.
FASD is an invisible disability: it is the leading cause of preventable developmental disabilities.
FASD can happen to anyone, regardless of where they live, race, and income.
DID YOU KNOW THAT FASD IS A FULL BODY DISORDER?
When a developing baby is exposed to alcohol, the resulting damage to the brain and body is permanent and may lead to life-long impairments.
The damage can occur during any stage of pregnancy.
There is no safe amount and no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
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“People can’t see it physically because it affects the brain. They see me as impatient and frustrated … somebody that needs more assistance than the average person who has no disabilities. I see myself as someone trying to break the stereotype of someone with a developmental disability and to show the world that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean there should be limits to what you can and can’t do.”Caroline Joanisse, Living with FASD
“We are excited about what the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program offers and their on-going efforts to educate people. It’s a comfort knowing we are not alone and this organization is there to support and advocate for those affected who, sadly, are often misunderstood. It’s crucial this organization continues its awareness campaign and significant work, in order for this population to succeed.”Brenda Boylan, Parent
Our program provides community capacity development across multiple sectors of service providers along with clinical support and service navigation for individuals with FASD and families.
We build capacity at existing agencies in the regions of Ottawa, Prescott Russel, and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry to understand and address the unique needs of the FASD population through high-level training workshops in sectors including health, mental health, justice, education, housing, employment and social work.
“This is the first opportunity that I have had to send off a quick thank you email for your workshop last week. From all accounts, the day was a resounding success. Everyone I have spoken to was very pleased with the clear and concise information and commented on how your delivery kept them engaged and interested.”
We offer bilingual, evidence-based FASD training to equip service providers with the tools and resources they require to provide services for individuals with FASD. Our workshops equip attendees with a strong foundation of knowledge about FASD and provide practical strategies. The learning objectives are tailored to each agency’s needs.
“I thought I knew more about it before I started now I realize how little I know!”
Available Education Packages: One-Hour Workshop The one-hour workshop is designed to provide foundational FASD knowledge to help better understand individuals who may have been prenatally exposed to alcohol.
The one-hour workshop provides cost and time effective education opportunities by offering an introductory one-hour workshop at no cost.
2-Hour, Half-Day and Full-Day Workshops These workshops are designed to facilitate in-depth learning on foundational topics that impact your field of service delivery (E.g. Education, health, mental health, child development, law enforcement, corrections, child welfare, social services, etc. ). Fees to provide workshops for agencies that support children and youth are covered by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and are available in Ottawa, Prescott Russell and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry.
Workshops for Ottawa agencies supporting adults with FASD are offered at a nominal fee to cover costs.
“The information gave me more tools to respond in a more efficient way, a more helpful way, gave me some more creative ideas to create learning opportunities.”
We provide community navigation to individuals with FASD and their families directing them to FASD informed supports. Organizations who have completed FASD training with us are added to our database with permission.
“The Fetal Alcohol Resource Program was there for me and my son in our time of need. We had only recently received the diagnosis that my son did indeed have FASD. I was distraught and not sure where to turn, where to gather information and more importantly, how to support my son. From the first phone call, I felt supported, educated and hopeful. Since beginning our work with FARP, the workers have advocated for my son in the school system and for the first time in years, he’s actually looking forward to starting school this fall and I feel less anxious about it too! The FARP team also linked me with a support group and I no longer feel alone in this maze called FASD. I am learning real life stories from other parents and again, feel hopeful for my son’s future. I’ve also learned about government programs that can help us financially, so that I can seek counseling and respite for my son and also, plan for his future, in case he is not able to live totally independently. I know that my worker is one phone call away. I highly recommend that anyone who is caring for a child, youth or adult and/or if you are a person living with this disorder, to reach out to the FARP group for support. You won’t be sorry!”
Provincial FASD Worker Program
ABLE2 collaborates with CHEO to deliver the provincial FASD Worker Program in the regions of Ottawa, Prescott Russell and Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry. The FASD Worker in each region provides clinical support and system navigation to children and youth up to age 18, or 21 is still in school, and their families.
This program helps families to:
- build connections and feel more connected to their communities
- understand the healthcare system
- access medical and community services for their children and youth
- support an FASD diagnosis and assist access to FASD diagnosis
- develop a plan that focuses on your child or youth’s strengths
- plan for school or moving to adulthood and adult services
- access FASD workshops
- educate teachers and other professionals in your child’s life about FASD
A diagnosis is not required to access this program, and fees are covered by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Service. Further information and a referral form.
For more information please contact
FASD Coordinator Team
ABLE2 receives funding from Health Nexus’ FASD Family/Caregiver Support Group Project to run several support groups. There are nine groups in total providing support for children, youth, and adults with FASD as well as their caregivers. All groups are facilitated by experienced facilitators and some groups also have a mentor with lived experience who is involved in planning and delivery.
All groups are currently being offered through Zoom at no cost to participants. The groups are offered in English only. Francophone clients are advised to contact their FASD Worker to discuss how they can access the groups with support.
Ontario Social Group for Adults with FASD or suspected FASD
Join us monthly to meet others with FASD through the province. You will see some old friends and make new friends. During these sessions, we will talk about what matters to you. We will share information and learn someone new, all from the comfort of your home. Participation in discussions at your comfort level.
This group is for adults over the age of 18 with or suspected FASD who live anywhere in Ontario.
Ontario Educational Group for Adults with FASD or suspected FASD
Join us monthly to meet others with FASD through the province. Topics for these groups are preselected based on participants requests which have included: “Living with FASD”, “Reducing stress and anxiety”, “Understanding sex and sexuality”.
All the educational groups are offered in a supportive, non-judgemental, confidential setting from the comfort of your home. Resources will be shared when necessary based on specific topics discussed during these sessions.
This group is for adults over the age of 18 with or suspected FASD who live anywhere in Ontario.
Weekly Support Groups for Children, Youth and Adults with FASD or Suspected FASD
We also offer weekly groups for children, youth and adults with FASD or suspected FASD who are clients in our programs in Ottawa, Prescott-Russell and Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry.
In these groups, participants get together to share successes and challenges in their day-to-day lives, engage in activities together and build genuine peer-to-peer connections.
These groups have significantly reduced isolation during COVID-19 as reported by participants.
Get in touch with your FASD Worker to be involved.
“Tuesday’s are my favorite night of the week, I wouldn’t miss group for anything”Support Group Participant
Support Groups for Caregivers of People with FASD or Suspected FASD
FASD Group of Ottawa
This group has been running for over 20 years. It was started and run by Elspeth Ross and is now run by ABLE2.
This group is open to anyone who wants to seek more knowledge about FASD and to receive professional and peer support. We invite people with FASD or suspected FASD to attend, along with caregivers, extended family members, friends, and professionals. All are welcome.
The following three groups are only offered to caregivers accessing services through the FASD Worker program.
Get in touch with your FASD worker to be involved.
- Caregivers in Prescott-Russell
- Caregivers in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
- Caregivers from all three regions we support, Ottawa, Prescott-Russell and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
Funding generously provided by