Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I have been swamped the last week and I'm sure that you are all just dying with my absence. NOT! I did a training yesterday at Pathways Counseling Center for the adult forensics staff, the staff who work with adults, and mainly adult offenders. It went really well, but it was a challenging one for me. I'll tell you why.

These staff have already received FASD training and have a solid foundation of knowledge on FASD. This is due to the fact that the director of their program, Jerrod Brown, really gets it. Jerrod is the man who is pulling the Adult FASD Provider Network, he also has a Forensics Institute which is hosting the "Legal Aspects of FASD" training that I mentioned here. I believe you can still register and get 1/2 off if you give my name. The training is being done by a judge from Washington state.

Jerrod wanted the training I did yesterday to be on the FASD Family Impact. Sounds easy, right? I was tempted to just sit and tell endless stories of the craziness that Akila brings to our family, that would have taken way more than an hour though. But he wanted me to focus on things like domestic violence, child abuse and the potential connection to FASD. So I had to look at it from a different view, from the aspect that alcohol effected people can get into lots of trouble with the law, and how that impacts the family.

I had to use research of course, instead of just basing it on my gut. This is where the great challenge lied. There is not much research at all that I could find on FASD and domestic violence for example, so I had to make connections in a round about way. I found the "profile of an abuser", and showed the similarities between FASD behaviors. The hard thing about it all, is that when you are looking at things like this, it does not make individuals with FASD look very good. But the cold hard truth, is that we know that prisons are full of individuals with FASD. It is estimated that 60% of the prison population was prenatally exposed to alcohol.

While putting the presentation together, I struggled with this. But the good thing, is that these staff are caring and compassionate and are trying to help people, and they realize that a ton of the people they are dealing with are undiagnosed FASD. Again, the training went really well, and I feel good about the outcome. The one thing I would change, is that I needed to close with some more positive things about individuals with FASD but I ran out of time and spaced it out.

I basically spent about 5 nights in a row working til 1:00 am putting it together. I have done so many trainings in my life, but this was a new one for me. The basic and advanced trainings on FASD I have been doing, are all put together by MOFAS. I haven't had to put the powerpoints together, or do the research. Before I was doing it through MOFAS, I have done some other trainings on FASD, but they were much easier to put together. All of the trainings I have done in the youth work field, have also been much easier for me. I can put together a team building training in an hour. A youth leadership one also, but this was a bit harder. Especially due to the lack of research.

I found research on Autism and divorce. Down's Syndrome and divorce. Nothing on FASD and divorce. I found info on Down's Syndrome and how it effects siblings. Nothing on FASD and siblings. So I used some of this other type of research, and made the connections. I sure hope that there is a bunch of research currently underway on different aspects of FASD, as it is amazing how little is out there.

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