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About the Symposium

Welcome to the 5th Annual Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Symposium featuring a new look at addressing mental health including stigma faced by people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

This Symposium is for anyone who recognises that they interact regularly with people with FASD – at work, at school, at home and in the community – and want advice on strategies to improve these interactions.

This conference is designed to not only provide tools for working with individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder but will also provide in-depth learning for those working in the education, health, mental health, child development, law enforcement, corrections, child welfare, and social services sectors.

We all have a role to play in increasing awareness about how alcohol impacts unborn babies and supporting people with FASD and their families. FASD affects +/– 1.5 M Canadians – There is no safe amount, no safe type, and no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Sponsors / Partners

Disclaimer

Some presentations broadcast at this conference may contain material that may be triggering or traumatic for some viewers, including stories about violence resulting from the intersection of disability, poverty, racism, sexism, and discrimination.

If viewing these presentations causes you discomfort or psychological distress, you may reach out to the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program (FARP) team for support (fasd@able2.org; 613-761-9522 ext. 234) or contact the following resource links: 

  • Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region 613-238-1089 (24/7)
  • Crisis Services Canada 1-833-456-4566 (toll free, 24/7); Text support 45645 (4 p.m.-12 a.m. ET daily)

Children and youth may call a counsellor at Kids Helpline at 1-800-668-6868.

If you already have a Social Worker, Psychologist or Psychiatrist as part of your care team, please reach out to them directly. Emergency Rooms have an on-call Social Worker and Psychiatrist if you feel you need a more immediate response.

Speakers
Keynotes
Cyntoia Brown-Long
Author, speaker, and advocate for criminal justice reform and person with FASD | Autrice, conférencière et défenseure de la réforme judiciaire pénale et personne avec TSAF
Cyntoia Brown-Long is an author, speaker, and advocate for criminal justice reform and victims of trafficking. Cyntoia is also a person who was diagnosed with FASD after being born to an alcoholic, teenage mother.  

Throughout her adolescence, Cyntoia experienced a sense of isolation, low self-esteem, and alienation that drove her straight into the hands of a predator. She was trafficked during her early teenage years, and, at the age of 16, was arrested for killing a man who solicited her for sex. After being tried as an adult, she was sentenced to life in prison.
 
Her memoir, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System (Atria Books), written while in prison, documents her early years and the 15 years she was incarcerated. It takes readers on a coming-of-age spiritual journey. Set against the shocking backdrop of a life behind bars and the injustice of sentencing sex-trafficked juveniles as adults, Cyntoia struggled to overcome a legacy of birth-family addiction and a lifetime of being ostracized and abandoned by society. She is a 2020 Nominee for the NCAAP Literary Image Award and has been featured as a guest columnist for the Washington Post.
Ashley Murphy
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Ashley lives in Toronto and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University in Theatre Arts. Ashley was born with HIV. She also has brain injuries due to her birth mother's drug and alcohol abuse in utero and a three and a half month long stay in intensive care in a medically induced coma as a newborn. She was placed with her second foster family at the age of six months for palliative care. It was thought she only had a few weeks left to live. She is now twenty-three!

She started speaking publicly about her experiences of growing up with HIV and FASD at the age of ten and has travelled around the world speaking in stadiums full of youth – teaching them about HIV, FASD, stigma, how to protect yourself and advocate for yourself.

She has presented at numerous events such as The Global Fund, UNAIDS, UN General Assembly, appeared in magazine, television, books and newspaper articles and has published articles/blogs.  
Breakout Presenters
Reinier deSmit
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Reinier knew something was wrong from the time he learned to walk. He felt different from others. And others constantly reinforced that message over the next 50 or so years. Then, at 56 years old, Reinier received a diagnosis that he was on the FASD spectrum. His brain’s development in the womb had been corrupted by alcohol. His brain was, indeed, different. This information set him free totally be himself.
Madeleine Dunne
Madeleine Dunne completed her B.A. in Philosophy with an Emphasis in Applied Ethics at Trent University. Through her career, Madeleine quickly took an interest in dual diagnosis and the importance of effectively supporting children and youth, especially those with developmental disabilities, in their social-emotional growth. Madeleine is passionate about decreasing the stigma associated with developmental disabilities and empowering individuals to see their full potential. Madeleine has taken this passion into her work as an FASD Key Services and Support Coordinator at Catulpa Community Support Services.
Tanya Eichler
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I am proud to be one of the original FARP team members. I currently have a private therapy office in Kanata and Kemptville and I love working with people affected by prenatal alcohol esposure. I have had over 14 years of opportunities to get to know people affected by PAE and look forward to many more.
Pascal Gagne
Pascal Gagné is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. He has recently joined Health Nexus as the FASD Team Lead. Prior to this position, Pascal has been the FASD Research Lead at ABLE2. He also teaches classes at various universities and colleges.
Angela Geddes
Angela has over 25 years of experience supporting individuals in a variety of settings. She is currently in private practice providing education, advocacy and direct support for individuals and families experiencing complex issues including the impact of PAE/FASD. Angela is also an active member of the FASD ONE Diagnostic Action Group and involves herself in many different projects aimed at building a more inclusive service delivery system.
Karen Huber
Karen is the FASD Coordinator at Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre. She has been supporting children, youth, and families in children’s mental health and developmental services for the past 27 years. For the past 13 years she has been working to build supports and understanding for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Besides supporting individuals and families living with the disability, her experience includes coordinating the Waterloo Region FASD Diagnostic Clinic, creating an Integrated Approach for FASD in Waterloo Region and participating in provincial initiatives (Health Nexus Advisory, FASD ONE, etc.).  She also provides support to communities, groups, and families through private practice.
Michelle Hughes
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Michelle is an FASD Coordinator with Sunbeam Developmental Resource Centre. Michelle has been immersed in the FASD community for close to ten years. Prior to embarking on this new and exciting role, Michelle worked in various settings building community and capacity through programs and partnerships. Michelle was one of the founding co-facilitators of the Waterloo Region Parent and Caregiver Support Group and had volunteered as a speaker in various training setting to share the lived experience of FASD. Her absolute passion is building FASD-informed communities and stamping out stigma where all who live with FASD are understood and included. Most recently Michelle became a published author sharing the experience of parenting and FASD.
Carson Kautz-Turnbull
Carson Kautz-Turnbull is a fourth-year graduate student at the University of Rochester working with Dr. Christie Petrenko. Her research interests involve increasing access to evidence-based interventions for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), especially those of underserved populations, such as people of colour, low-income groups, and people in rural areas. She is also interested in strengths-based ways to support people with FASD and reduce stigma and barriers to quality care.
Denis Lamblin
Dr, Lamblin is the founder of the first French network of prevention of FASD, at the origin of the preventive logo, and is the recipient of the National Prize of the National Academy of Medicine for the fight against alcoholism. In France, he is considered to be a national expert in promoting the prevention of FASD, and is the current President of SAF France (association of experts), and the President of SAFTHON International. He has presented at more than 50 international conferences on 5 continents and is the co-editor of the International Convention.
Nancy Lockwood
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I am an Ottawa-based FASD Consultant and Educator with over 25 years of work and lived experience supporting individuals of all ages with FASD. Current work includes building capacity at provincial agencies to increase their ability to support people of all ages with FASD and their families, creating / presenting customized webinars on a variety of topics, and facilitating support groups. Previously, I managed ABLE2’s Fetal Alcohol Resource Program, a program I helped to create and launch.
Sabrina Peacock
Sabrina Peacock is an FASD Worker at ABLE2 for the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program (FARP). Sabrina is a Registered Early Childhood Educator and Psychotherapist who has worked with children and families for over 15 years.  Sabrina lived in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, for nine years before joining ABLE2, where she has held different positions across the sector of children and youth.  She has worked as an infant and child development counsellor, she offered child and family therapy, counselling to children who had a developmental disability and worked with communities and agencies to build their capacity when it comes to mental health and FASD.  Sabrina has experience working in multiple sectors including education and justice and has personal experience of living with and loving someone with FASD.  Sabrina is passionate about yoga, attachment, trauma, infant and child development, and mindfulness which feed back into her professional practice.
Christie Petrenko
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Christie (McGee) Petrenko, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and researcher who has been working with people with FASD since 2003. She completed her graduate training with Edward Riley and Sarah Mattson in San Diego, CA and is currently a faculty member at Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester in NY. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions for people with FASD, including the use of mobile health technology to increase access to care. She has experience training teams of providers both regionally and internationally in FASD diagnosis. Dr. Petrenko also runs a multidisciplinary FASD clinic providing diagnostic, intervention, and family support services in Rochester, NY.
Maddy Rockhold
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Madeline is a first-year clinical psychology graduate student at the University of Rochester working under Dr. Christie Petrenko. Her research interests lie in FASD intervention, early childhood development, and the neurocognitive impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the University of Minnesota’s FASD Research lab under Dr. Jeffrey Wozniak investigating choline supplementation in young children and conducting MRI-based observational studies of children and adolescents with FASD.
Monica Scott
Monica Scott is the founder of Embracing Neurodiversity Canada -  diversityCAN.ca, an organization dedicated to embracing and promoting neurodiversity and personal regulation. Monica has been working with children, youth and their families for over thirty years in home, school, childcare, and community settings. She believes in the importance of unconditional acceptance, positive regard and looking through a strength-based, solution-focused lens.
Tanya
Tanya is an Inspirational Speaker, Peer Advocate, FASD Consultant and Certified FASD Educator. She is experienced as a guest speaker at conferences from coast to coast. She currently sits on ABLE2’s Fetal Alcohol Resource Program Liaison and Partnership Group and is a Mentor in ABLE2’s Support Groups for Youth and Adults. With a unique perspective on lived experience with FASD, Tanya shares inspirational hope for others and for those who love and care for those with FASD.
Hosts
Sylvie Bigras
Fluently trilingual, Sylvie Bigras is an accomplished emcee and facilitator who has conducted national and expert stakeholder consultations, strategic planning, and organizational development projects. 

She has hosted numerous major events including the Nelson Mandela Citizenship Ceremony, State Dinners for George W. Bush, Vicente Fox Quesada, Prince Charles and other dignitaries.

A specialist in Communications at international sporting events, she has worked at 15 Olympic Games, 4 Commonwealth Games and 5 Pan American Games. She has narrated numerous videos and presentations and is the “voice”​ of the Canadian War Museum.
Manon Kelso
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Manon has been working in the Social Services sector for about 15 years. She has worked in a variety of multi-disciplinary teams in the community, including educational and residential organizations. These positions have involved supporting children, youth and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, mental health illnesses, dual-diagnosis and learning exceptionalities. Manon was an Independent Planning Facilitator with ABLE2 working with people with a variety of developmental disabilities assisting them to work on their person-directed goals and future planning with their families, before joining the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program as an FASD Worker, FASD Worker Lead and now Program Manager. She is passionate about supporting this under supported community.
Special Guests
Courtney Farrow-Lawrence
FASD Service Coordinator, Surrey Place

Courtney Farrow-Lawrence is of mixed ancestry, being born and raised in Nova Scotia. She is of Mi'kmaq, Mohawk, Ainu, African Nova Scotia, and Acadian descent. Courtney joined the Surrey Place family as an FASD Service Coordinate for Toronto in May 2021, along with her two children, Steven and Rai, of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

Courtney has specialized in family preservation, criminal and social justice advocacy, and reintegration since 2012, supporting individuals going through the FASD assessment process or who have been diagnosed with FASD. Before moving to Ontario, Courtney worked in BC, providing community support and FASD education to community members and professionals through an Indigenous worldview. Since 2019, Courtney has been the Indigenous Board Representative of Inclusion BC and is passionate about advocating for community inclusion for all community members.
Heather Lacey
Executive Director, ABLE2

Heather Lacey is currently the Executive Director of ABLE2. Her background includes leadership positions with the Ontario Ministry of Children & Youth Services (now known as the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services) and the British Columbia Delegated Indigenous Child and Family Service Agency.

She holds a BA in Psychology and Law and has certificates in Computer Programming and Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Her life’s journey has taken her from Ottawa to South Korea, remote First Nation communities in northern Ontario, British Columbia, inner-city Edmonton and back to Ottawa.
Nicky Lewis
CEO, Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN)

Nicky brings more than 20 years’ experience in senior management and executive leadership roles in public health and health research administration. Returning to Canada after three years in Australia driving research and innovation projects at Murdoch University and leading research development at the renowned Telethon Kids Institute. Nicky is uniquely and ideally positioned to guide KBHN, having served four years as the inaugural Executive Director of the Network from its inception as NeuroDevNet. Prior to joining the Network, Nicky held Executive Level positions within the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, CIHR, Institute of Human Development - Child and Youth Health - Institute of Genetics, Ontario Public Health Association and the Nova Scotia Ministry of Health.
Help Desk
Steve Clarkson
Technical assistance @ Event Production Solutions
Sydney Benoit
Speaker management @ Ispark
Bailey D'Angelo
Admin @ iSPARK Consulting
Riley Denver
Marketing @ Ispark
Heather Harcott
iSpark Consulting
Dave Tubbe
Event Services @ Event Production Solutions
Schedule
25
Start
8:30
End
15:15
Steve Clarkson
Sydney Benoit
Bailey D'Angelo
Riley Denver
Heather Harcott
Dave Tubbe
Help Desk Open (LIVE) / Ouverture du bureau de soutien (EN DIRECT)
Start
9:00
End
23:45
Sabrina Peacock
Choisir l'auto-compassion avant tout (PRÉ-ENREGISTRÉ SUR DEMANDE EN FRANÇAIS – 18 MINS)
Start
9:00
End
23:45
Karen Huber
Michelle Hughes
FASD Informed Approaches to Mental Health Treatment (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 36 MINS)
Start
9:00
End
23:45
Pascal Gagne
Sortir le TSAF du Placard (PRÉ-ENREGISTRÉ SUR DEMANDE EN FRANÇAIS – 32 MINS)
Start
9:05
End
23:45
FASD Perspectives Video Series / Séries de vidéo sur les perspectives du TSAF (BILINGUAL / BILINGUE / PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND / PRÉ-ENREGISTRÉ SUR DEMANDE – 6 MINS)
Start
9:05
End
23:45
Carson Kautz-Turnbull
Christie Petrenko
Maddy Rockhold
From Surviving to Thriving: A New Conceptual Model to Advance Interventions to Support People with FASD Across the Lifespan (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 23 MINS)
Start
9:05
End
23:45
Tanya Eichler
Nancy Lockwood
Supporting Caregivers’ Nervous Systems: A Therapeutic and Educational Support Group for Caregivers of People with FASD (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 23 MINS)
Start
10:30
End
10:55
Courtney Farrow-Lawrence
Sylvie Bigras
Heather Lacey
Nicky Lewis
Opening Remarks / Propos d’ouverture (BILINGUAL REPLAY OF LIVE SESSION / REPRISE BILINGUE DE LA SESSION EN DIRECT– 25 MINS)
Start
11:15
End
23:45
Cyntoia Brown-Long
KEYNOTE: Overcoming Life Challenges and Stigma (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 31 MINS) Keynote Speaker: Cyntoia Brown-Long, Author, Speaker, Advocate for Criminal Justice Reform and person with FASD
Start
12:00
End
23:45
Sabrina Peacock
Choosing Self-Compassion First (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 14 MINS)
Start
12:00
End
23:45
Pascal Gagne
Coming Out of the FASD Closet (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 29 MINS)
Start
12:00
End
23:45
Monica Scott
Embracing Neurodiversity in the Early Years (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 27 MINS)
Start
12:00
End
23:45
Reinier deSmit
Stigma Works in Both Directions (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 13 MINS)
Start
12:05
End
23:45
Denis Lamblin
Face à une problématique internationale invisible, un plan global de prévention pour la France et ailleurs (PRÉ-ENREGISTRÉ SUR DEMANDE EN FRANÇAIS – 43 MINS)
Start
12:05
End
23:45
Madeleine Dunne
Growth Mindset, Self-Stigma, and FASD in Children and Youth (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 16 MINS)
Start
12:05
End
23:45
Angela Geddes
Tanya
The Sting of Stigma: In search for understanding and dignity for people with complicated and beautiful brains (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 36 MINS)
Start
13:00
End
23:45
Ashley Murphy
KEYNOTE: Growing Up with FASD: The Impact of Nurture (PRE-RECORDED ON-DEMAND IN ENGLISH – 32 MINS) Keynote Speaker: Ashley Murphy, National Youth Ambassador for Canadian Foundation for Aids Research and person with FASD
Start
14:00
End
14:30
Reinier deSmit
Sylvie Bigras
Manon Kelso
Angela Geddes
Karen Huber
Michelle Hughes
Q & A with Session Presenters hosted by Sylvie Bigras & Manon Kelso (REPLAY OF LIVE SESSION – 30 MINS)
Start
14:45
End
15:05
Sylvie Bigras
Closing Remarks / Mots de la fin (BILINGUAL REPLAY OF LIVE SESSION / REPRISE BILINGUE DE LA SESSION EN DIRECT – 12 MINS)