Keynote Speakers

Jocelyn Cook

Dr. Jocelynn Cook graduated with a PhD in Reproductive Physiology from the Medical University of South Carolina and spent 10 years in an academic setting as graduate student, a post-doctoral fellow and an Assistant Professor. Wanting to expand her skillset beyond the basic science laboratory, she embarked on a Masters of Business Administration, and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with an MBA, specializing in Economics and Health Policy. Her professional career has focused on issues related to maternal-fetal medicine; specifically, substance abuse during pregnancy, preterm birth, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Assisted Human Reproduction and Maternal Mortality.

After holding the positions of Executive Director of the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, then Executive Director of the Canada FASD Research Network, Dr. Cook joined the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada as its first Chief Scientific Officer in 2014. Dr. Cook oversees all work related to public health and surveillance, research and knowledge translation, Clinical Practice Guidelines, academic programs and education and National projects, including perinatal mental health and prevention of maternal morbidity and mortality.

Dr. Cook has been an Adjunct Professor to the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Ottawa since 2002 and continues to be active in her own research as well as in research partnerships and collaborations. In her spare time, Jocelynn loves laughing, hugging, spending time watching her amazing daughters navigate their science courses and beating her own score on the Peloton.

BUILDING CAPACITY FOR PREVENTION, DIAGNOSIS AND INTERVENTIONS

Substance use during pregnancy continues to increase globally, and data continue to emerge about the impacts of in utero exposure on physical and mental health. Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) is associated with a range of neurodevelopmental and behavioural needs which, without standardized mechanisms for identification and diagnosis, can remain unaddressed. When needs are not recognized, individuals with PAE can experience challenges, and opportunities for interventions to improve outcomes for individuals and families may be missed.

Canada’s National FASD Database provides information on ~4,000 individuals with PAE and includes demographic, diagnostic, social, physical and mental health and social factors. Data provide important evidence, not only about brain function and behaviour associated with PAE, but also about pre-and post-natal factors that influence how we should think about prevention, diagnosis and interventions

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Recognize the complexity of alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Describe how those with FASD differ from those without FASD, according to current diagnostic criteria
  • Explore how evidence can impact prevention, diagnostic systems, and map intervention
Dr. Lana Popova

Svetlana (Lana) Popova, MD, Ph.Ds, MPH is a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization Collaborating Centre, Toronto, Canada. She is also an Associate Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Epidemiology Division and Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.

Dr. Popova’s research focuses on substance abuse and disease burden, and evidence-based policy development. She has a particular interest in the epidemiology, comorbidities, economic cost, prevention and intervention strategies related to FASD.

Dr. Popova is leading one of the largest studies, guided by the World Health Organization, on determining the global prevalence of FASD among children in low- and middle-income countries of Eastern and Central Europe and Africa, as well as Canada. She was also a principal investigator of the study on Surveillance of FASD and prenatal alcohol exposure as well as on estimating the burden and economic cost associated with FASD in Canada, supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Dr. Popova’s research high-impact journals is widely read and cited.

GLOBAL AND CANADIAN PREVALENCE OF FASD

The World Health Organization (WHO) Global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, endorsed by the Sixty-third World Health Assembly in May 2010, highlights the importance of the prevention and identification of harmful use of alcohol among pregnant women and women of child-bearing age, as well as of treatment and care for individuals and families affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

FASD has a huge economic and societal impact as it affects both individuals and their families, and requires lifelong assistance from a wide range of services including health, community, remedial education, and many others.As the first step towards understanding the severity and impact of FASD in different parts of the world, required for planning adequate policy and program responses, it is essential to determine the prevalence of these conditions in different countries.

This workshop will present the prevalence of alcohol use and binge drinking by countries, WHO regions and globally among a) women of childbearing age and b) pregnant women. It will also present the prevalence of FASD by countries (including Canada), WHO regions and globally among a) general populations and b) specific sub-populations (i.e., children in care, correctional populations, special education populations, and specialized clinical populations).

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Gain knowledge on the prevalence of alcohol use and binge drinking by countries, WHO regions
  • and globally among:
    • women of childbearing age; and
    • pregnant women
  • Gain knowledge on the prevalence of FASD by countries (including Canada), WHO regions and
  • globally among:
    • general populations; and
    • specific sub-populations (i.e., children in care, correctional
  • populations, special education populations, and specialized clinical populations)
ChangeMakers: CJ Lutke, Emily Hargrove, Maggie May, & Justin Mitchell

The Adult Leadership Collaborative (ALC) of FASD Changemakers is a well-known group of citizen researchers and experts who each have diagnosed FASD and range in age from 26 to 44. It is made up of CJ Lutke, Myles Himmelreich, Katrina Griffin, Justin Mitchell, Anique Lutke, Emily Hargrove and Maggie May, a group who have experienced all the events commonly associated with FASD but have learned how to overcome obstacles, maximize potential and re-define success. They use their combined lived experience to work together as consultants, advisors, trainers, presenters, mentors, group moderators, bloggers, and as various university research project team members. As well, they develop and lead their own survey research, which has received wide interest by institutions, agencies, organizations, government bodies and the FASD community. Their first survey has been published by Routledge, and their second one is currently being written. Both research surveys have been widely presented including internationally and are currently being used to help focus research directions and questions.

FIELD OF DREAMS: BUILDING EQUITABLE ACCESS TO FASD DIAGNOSIS AND SERVICES IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Implications requiring understanding and accommodation, particularly as children with FASD enter adolescence and adulthood. As such, it is imperative that the diagnosis is made at any age, as it is never too late to create the changes needed for more positive outcomes, as the ALC of FASD Changemakers can attest to. Equity and access are key components, both to diagnosis and to developing services that work for individuals with FASD at all ages and developmental levels, as most individuals are not intellectually disabled. This is particularly critical for those individuals with FASD who are, or, if diagnosed, would be considered to be “high functioning” (a term we do NOT like), as this is the group for whom the correct diagnosis of FASD is most often missed, for whom service eligibility does not occur, for whom outcomes are often the poorest, but are those for whom correct diagnosis and equitable services can make the most difference.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Recognize equity as it applies to FASD and essential quality of life.
  • Identify the need for diagnostic processes at all ages.
  • Examine and explore what FASD support services need to include across the lifespan in order to maximize potential.

Workshop Speakers

Dominique-Michelle Legacy & Karin Stockwell

Dominique-Michelle Legacy is Acadian French and a member of the Elsipogtog First Nation of NewBrunswick. Her educational journey brought her to the Lake Huron shores in 2013. She holds a Master’s in Health Science from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Moncton. Dominique has been part of the Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre Owen Sound site team since September 2013. Her career at SOAHAC began as an occupational therapist under the mental health program until recently when she was offered and accepted the position of Integrated Care Manager. Dominique’s career has solely focused on working alongside indigenous communities on and off reserve. Her professional and personal experiences have created a passion for indigenous advocacy in trauma informed and culturally safe provision of care. Dominique invites all sectors to be part of a profound commitment in establishing new relationships with our Indigenous communities that are embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future for our brothers & sisters.

VIEWING FASD THROUGH AN INDIGENOUS LENS As professionals, supporting clients and families dealing with FASD can be challenging. Establishing trust can be difficult, especially when trauma is a significant factor. Indigenous health care is complex, not only because of potentially different worldviews and cultural approaches, but also because of the personal and generational, present-day, and historical trauma that Indigenous clients may have experienced.

Research has shown that relationship-building mediates trauma. In order to build strong relationships with Indigenous clients, professionals can benefit from an appreciation of Indigenous history, cultural practices, and lived experiences. This workshop will present a history of Indigenous experiences that can shed light on why professionals may encounter challenges while supporting their Indigenous clients, as well as help to identify obstacles and solutions to address them. The content will also include ways that practitioners can incorporate traditional values, as well as dispelling myths and misconceptions regarding FASD and Indigenous communities. The overall goal is to create a safe space for Indigenous clients with FASD and their families to access services by starting the conversation on how to incorporate the unique needs of Indigenous clients into professional practice.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to connect key events in indigenous history with the truth & reconciliation calls to action regarding FASD.
  • At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to recognize common myths around alcoholism, FASD and indigenous communities to challenge unconscious bias.
  • At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to identify common triggers and potential barriers in their professional practice that impacts the provision of cultural safe FASD care.
  • At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to incorporate new knowledge of cultural safety practice to support and advocate for indigenous people living with FASD.
Denise Kollee and Sue Brooks

Denise Kollee has worked as a speech language pathologist for over 20 years. She is currently the Chief SLP and the FASD Lead at Halton Catholic District School Board. She began her journey learning about FASD in 2015 when she became co-chair of the Halton FASD Resource Team and has been passionate about supporting children and adolescents in a school setting ever since. She has led the creation and implementation of a tiered model of support for students with FASD at her school board. She has a leadership role in the Halton FASD Collaborative and co-chairs the Halton FASD Advisory Committee. Denise continues to facilitate FASD training and case conference and as well as supporting system change across community agencies.

Sue Brooks is a Child and Youth Worker with over 25 years’ experience in a broad range of environments that include; residential, community-based and school settings. She has worked extensively with children, youth and their families with complex needs and has a strong passion for creating change through community partnerships. For the past 8 years she has supported and led the Halton FASD Community Collaborative. Currently she is the Manager of Specialized Consultation at Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) providing leadership to the FASD Assessment & Diagnostic Clinic, FASD Consultants, Psychology Team and Caroline Families First Program. Sue is the Co-chair of the Halton Advisory Committee and Halton FASD Resource Team (Community of Practice).

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Recognize key ingredients that supported sustainable community collaborations in Halton.
  • Describe how a regional community of practice was used to create organizational champions
  • Identify ways the implementation of FASD informed supports in a district school Board was operationalized
Jessie Jones

Jessie Jones is the founder and CEO of Jess Jones Recreation Therapy Inc. a social services company that provides therapeutic recreation, leisure education and counselling to humans of all ages and abilities with a particular emphasis on children with developmental and intellectual disabilities and mental health through connection, creativity and curiosity.

Jessie Jones has a 2-year Recreation Therapy diploma from Canadore College, a 2-year Culinary Management Diploma from Fanshawe College and is currently a 3rd year Research student obtaining an honours degree in Recreation and Leisure studies with a concentration in therapeutic recreation and psychology from Brock University. Jessie’s educational objective is to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and continue with her Masters in psychology to become a Registered Psychotherapist.

As a writer, storyteller, musician, artist, caregiver and mother it is important to Jessie to bring people together through connection, creativity and curiosity and honour the individual through their life story.

THE SOCIAL PRESCRIPTION: RECREATION THERAPY AS THE FUTURE OF HOLISTIC HEALTHCARE

Join Jessie Jones to learn about the importance of therapeutic recreation (TR) as the futureof holistic health care. Jessie will guide participants through the benefits of recreation and leisure interventions through evidence and strengths based approaches and share how TR contributes to a salutogenic orientation to health and well-being.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • By the conclusion of this presentation, learners will be able to identify three benefits to using therapeutic recreation and leisure to support children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health.
  • By the conclusion of this presentation, learners will have a strong understanding of therapeutic recreation fundamentals, for example, “What is Therapeutic Recreation and How does one recognize the difference between recreation and therapeutic recreation”.
  • By the conclusion of this presentation, learners will be able to identify at least three basic therapeutic recreation interventions, methods and models and how it contributes to health and wellbeing of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health.
Dr. Preeti Kar

Preeti Kar completed her PhD at the University of Calgary, a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia, and is currently a medical student. Her research interests include understanding how prenatal and postnatal experiences (e.g., prenatal alcohol or substance exposure, prenatal maternal depression) impact brain and behavioral development in infants and children. Preeti is involved with the Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network and the Calgary Perinatal Collective to shape community education around alcohol and substance use in pregnancy. She strongly values knowledge translation and mobilization, and engaging family and community partners in research to optimize outcomes for children and their caregivers.

BRAIN AND BEHAVIORAL DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN WITH PRENATAL ALCOHOL EXPOSURE

Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can lead to cognitive and behavioural challenges, which stem from differences in brain development. In early childhood, neurodevelopmental differences associated with PAE may become apparent, however prior brain research has focused on children with PAE older than 7 years. Our team led the first brain imaging study in young children (2-7 years) with prenatal alcohol exposure. This workshop will highlight innovative methods to recognize other prenatal and postnatal exposures alongside PAE and to collect brain imaging data in young children with PAE. We will also discuss brain differences in children with PAE and how they may be linked to cognitive, language, motor, and mental health challenges during preschool years. This work may support earlier identification and intervention strategies for challenges associated with PAE.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Name commonly co-occurring prenatal and postnatal exposures.
  • Describe techniques to complete neuroimaging in young children.
  • Differentiate brain development in young children with prenatal alcohol exposure and unexposed, typically developing children.
  • Identify how brain development relates to cognitive, language, motor, and mental health in young children with prenatal alcohol exposure.
Dr. Charlis Raineki

Dr. Charlis Raineki is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Brock University. The overarching theme of Dr. Raineki’s work is to understand how prenatal alcohol exposure influences development and produces long-term changes in immune, brain, hormonal, and behavioural systems. He is particularly interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms mediating the increased rates of mental health problems observed in individuals with FASD. The immune system is increasingly recognized as playing an important part in typical brain development and function, and depression and anxiety are often associated with immune dysregulation. Accordingly, Dr. Raineki’s current research is investigating the immune system and its contribution to the underlying mechanisms of the increased vulnerability to mental health problems following prenatal alcohol exposure.

LINKS BETWEEN IMMUNE SYSTEM DYSREGULATION AND HEALTH PROBLEMS FOLLOWING PRENATAL ALCOHOL EXPOSURE: A TRANSLATIONAL APPROACH

During this workshop, Dr. Raineki will integrate data from both basic science and clinical research on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure across multiple neurobehavioural domains. He will provide an overview of the complex and interactive effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and early-life adversity on neuroimmune development, and how these exposures can affect long-term health outcomes in the offspring.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Gain an understanding of how early-life adversity shapes individual neurobehavioural developmental trajectories, especially in the context of prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Summarize emerging evidence for the wide-ranging effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and/or early adversity on offspring mental health
  • Describe how disturbances in early immune system development can have long-lasting consequences for immune function and neurobehavioural development
Angela Geddes & Dr. Brianne Redquest

Dr. Brianne Redquest is a postdoctoral associate at the University of Calgary with the ENHANCE lab. Dr. Redquest’s program of research involves co-creating innovative, accessible, and patient-informed supports for improving the mental health of people with disabilities and their caregivers.

Angela is a Social Worker with 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. She has recently authored a book titled, A Complicated and Beautiful Brain. A guide to understanding the effects of PAE and what FASD looks like across the lifespan.

SUPPORTING CAREGIVERS AND PEOPLE AFFECTED BY FASD THROUGH ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT)

Caregivers of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) report high levels of stress yet are often excluded from typical mental health and support services. This has been recognized by the Ontario Government’s FASD provincial initiatives of which investment in Family/Caregiver Support Group Project is one priority. In response to this, our team has worked with the FASD community to support the development and delivery of various suppots aimed to enhance the overall wellbeing of caregivers of people with FASD. Subsequent work in this area is finding that ACT can be very helpful for individuals with FASD as well so we will explore some examples of this as well.

Part One of this presentation will review existing research regarding the experiences and the mental health of caregivers of people with FASD. Part Two will describe various supports for this population, highlighting an initiative led by our team of scientists and researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University Health Network, caregiver advisors, and an FASD expert. Our team codelivered a brief Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) intervention/workshop to caregivers of people with FASD that aimed to improve their mental health and wellbeing.In addition to presenting the results of this work, we will describe the importance of FASDinformed facilitation, mitigating risks, addressing barriers, and will provide recommendations for future research/supports. Throughout this presentation participants will be invited to engage in a various ACT exercise. We will also explore examples of exercises have been found to be helpful with people with FASD.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Describe the overall mental health of caregivers of people with FASD and associated impacts.
  • Understand the impact of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on caregivers of people with FASD and for people with FASD.
  • Identify key elements within support groups for caregivers of people with FASD that promote overall effectiveness
  • Discover the core processes of Acceptance Commitment Therapy/Training (ACT) and relevant application within FASD support group activities, as well as their personal lives.
Dr. Ashley Bildfell & Dr. Morgan Kleiber

Dr. Ashley Bildfell is a clinical psychologist in supervised practice. Her research focused on self-regulation in early learners, specifically while writing. Dr. Bildfell has trained and worked in schools, community mental health, primary care, and forensic settings. Dr. Bildfell provides clinical assessments and psychotherapy for children, adolescents, adults and families. She has a clinical interest in supporting individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., Learning Disabilities, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), mental health problems, behaviour problems, and those involved in the justice system. Dr. Bildfell facilitates a social skills group for adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Dr. Morgan Kleiber completed her PhD at the University of Western Ontario in Cell and Molecular Genetics, focusing on how timing and dose of prenatal alcohol exposure affects behaviour, brain gene expression, and longterm changes to epigenetic patterning in a mouse model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. She subsequently completed a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego in the departments of Psychiatry and Cell and Molecular Medicine where her research examined the contributions of rare genetic variants to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Dr. Kleiber is also a strong advocate for science education and mentorship, and has won several departmental and faculty teaching awards

UNDERSTANDING “BRAIN DOMAINS” IMPACTED BY FASD AND THEIR ROLE IN LEARNING: EVIDENCE-BASED STRATEGIES FOR SUPPORTING NEURODIVERSITY IN THE CLASSROOM

Neurodiversity – the range of differences in brain function and behaviour between individuals – is heavily determined by the interplay between biological variation and environmental influences. Differences in specific brain functions or “domains” (such as cognition, attention, memory, executive function, adaptive behaviour, or affect regulation) can impact a student’s specific learning needs in a classroom setting. Evidence-based educational interventions that benefit children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) tend to benefit neurodiverse and neurotypical children alike, which maximizes educator efforts and student learning.

In this workshop, brain domains relevant to learning that are impacted by FASD will be explored, as well as how understanding interindividual differences in these domains (biologically and functionally) can inform practical strategies for classroom-based interventions. This workshop will examine how individual variation in brain domains impact learning, explore the neuroscience of why kids learn differently, and introduce clinical classroom-based interventions specific to each brain domain. This workshop will highlight easy-to-implement, evidence-based teaching strategies that are critical for neurodiverse students with learning challenges (such as those with FASD) and that can benefit the academic achievement of all students. Workshop participants will develop an understanding of specific strategies they can implement to facilitate learning for students with specific brainbased challenges. The application of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model in classrooms could inform training programs that effectively address learning needs in neurodiverse students. In sum, this workshop will discuss the potential of a classroom-based learning model sensitive to the educational needs of neurodiverse students while maximizing overall student success, and address the critical role of educators, clinicians, and parents in achieving an effective learning environment that supports neurodiversity.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of how various “brain domain” functions impact learning, with a focus on neurodiversity, in a classroom setting.
  • Recognize how genetics and neurobiology contribute to brain diversity and brain domain functions.
  • Distinguish evidence-based clinical interventions (specific to each “brain domain”) that support neuro-atypical as well as neuro-typical students in the classroom.

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