London FASD Conference Workshops – October 28, 2020

How do I attend my chosen workshops during the conference? Links are available in the main conference room on October 28. They are also on the Agenda page.

Click each title below to read more about the presenters and their workshop descriptions.

AM Workshops (11:15-12:00)

FASD and Therapeutic Animals (Elizabeth Baker)

Biography: Elizabeth Baker is the Owner/Director of Thames Centre Service Dogs and is recognized as developing the training protocols for FASD service dogs in Ontario. Elizabeth has over 30 years experience with training dogs and has had working teams across North America since 2003. Ms. Baker herself was diagnosed with FASD and PTSD at the age of 14 and has written a book of her experiences entitled When Spirits Lie; Living with FASD. She has published many articles as well.

Workshop Description: By the conclusion of this workshop, learners will: Learn whether a child is a possible candidate for a service dog and what the potential benefits are of utilizing a trained service dog. The presentation will end with a question and answer period.


FASD and the Child Welfare System (Dr. Sabrina Agnihotri and Dr. Mitesh Patel)

Dr. Sabrina Agnihotri completed her PhD and post-doctoral fellowship in neuroscience, as well as a doctoral of medicine, from the University of Toronto (UofT) and is currently in her second year of residency in Psychiatry. Dr. Mitesh Patel is a lecturer and assistant professor at the University of Toronto, as well as a forensic psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Children’s Aid Society, Toronto.

Workshop Description:This workshop will review up-to-date research and clinical work regarding the challenges and facilitators to identifying FASD for children and youth accessing the child welfare system in Canada. We will also describe our approach to identifying FASD and psychiatric comorbidity through the Children’s Aid Society, Toronto. Given the high risk profile of these youth, transitioning to adulthood is also a focus for clinical services, and we will describe our recent narrative review and systems-level approach to assisting youth with FASD who are transitioning out of care. By the conclusion of this workship, the learner will have a better understanding of:

  • Barrers and facilitators to FASD diagnosis for children and youth accessing the child welfare system
  • The process and importance of identifying psychiatric comorbidity for youth with FASD in the child welfare system
  • Novel systems-level approaches to assist youth with FASD who are transitioning out of care.


Making a Diagnosis of FASD (Dr. Clare Mitchell, MD FRCPC)

Biography: Dr. Clare Mitchell Dr. Clare Mitchell is an Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University in London, Ontario. She is the Head of the Division of Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics. At the Child and Parent Resource Institute (CPRI) she does consultation and assessments of children and adolescents with developmental delays and/or mental health problems as part of a multidisciplinary team. She has a particular interest in Tourette Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and global health.

Workshop Description:This workshop will discuss the process of a multidisciplinary assessment leading to a diagnosis of FASD. Through interactive case discussion, attendees will work through the steps leading to a diagnosis of FASD using Canadian Guidelines; will appreciate the need for building capacity for FASD diagnosis in Ontario; and will be provided with practical tools to enhance their clinical skills when assessing individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure.
By the conclusion of this workshop, learners will:

  • Discuss prevalence and impact of prenatal alcohol exposure in Canada
  • Review current Canadian guidelines and diagnostic terminology for diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
  • Describe current resources and limitations for diagnosis of FASD
  • Have some practical tools to enhance clinical skills when assessing individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure

PM Workshops (3:15-4:00)

Parent Mentoring Programs (Jennifer Banting, Andrea Orsini and Rachel Bezzina, TVCC and LFCC)

Biography: Jennifer Banting and Andrea Orsini are Parent Mentors employed by Thames Valley Children’s Centre. Through the Thames Valley Children’s Centre Parent Mentor program, parents have access to individuals who have “been down this road before”. Andrea and Jennifer are part of an innovative partnership with the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board. The collaboration provides families and caregivers with the opportunity to participate in workshops or individualized services and supports. Parent Mentor workshops have reached over 600 families. Through collaboration with community partners we have created “It Takes a Village”. The information series increases knowledge and understanding, provides networking opportunities and support confidence and empower parents/caregivers to positively advocate for their children. Jennifer and Andrea support opportunities for caregivers and families to connect through the TVCC Client Advisory Committee Voice and Caregivers Connecting. Rachel Bezzina is a Registered Social Worker and Project Clinical Manager at London Family Court Clinic. Rachel manages FASD Connect. FASD Connect is a parent mentoring program that connects parents/caregivers of children with a suspected neurodevelopmental disorder or diagnosed FASD. Mentees and mentors with similar lived experiences are matched into a mutually beneficial dyad with a goal to decrease social isolation and increase community supports. Rachel has given presentations at various agencies in London and surrounding area, is co-chair of London Middlesex FASD Community of Practice (CoP), advocated for the creation of the London Middlesex FASD Caregiver/Parent Advisory Committee, has been involved in the organization of numerous successful FASD events in the community, and recently published an article on supporting children with a complex neurodevelopmental disorder.

Workshop Description:Peer Support initiatives have evolved from a need to develop strategies to engage families to connect with other families for social and emotional support. Families provide support by actively listening to concerns. They promote partnerships between health care teams, schools and community organizations by means of sharing similar experiences and offering strategies to navigate the current environment. This workshop will provide insight into peer-to-peer support by:

  • Exploring various formalized peer support programs and current research in practice
  • Share strategies for maintaining client and family engagement in peer support programs
  • Exploring how to strengthen partnerships and build relationships

By the conclusion of this workshop, learners will:

  • Be able to identify opportunities to support clients and families
  • Be able to identify methods to create successful peer support programs
  • Share current best practices through research and demonstrated successful peer-to-peer programs
  • Discuss and share resources

FASD and the Justice System (Constable Anthea Fordyce, London Police and Dr. Kim Harris, TVCC and LFCC)

Biography: Dr. Harris is a registered forensic psychologist in the province of Ontario and is the Assistant Executive Director of the London Family Court Clinic. She is also adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education and Faculty of Social Science at Western University. Currently, Dr. Harris is the Vice President of the Ontario Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). Dr. Harris has a diverse workload that includes assessment and consultation for children, youth, and their families involved in the justice system addressing issues such as mental health, trauma, violence risk, parenting capacity, parenting time and responsibilities, and capacity to testify. Dr. Harris has been declared an expert witness in both Family Court and Civil Court matters. Dr. Harris also provides intervention to children, youth, and families who are in conflict with the law and families involved in protracted disputes following separation and divorce. Dr. Harris is the lead of a multi-year project to support children and families with FASD, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Dr. Harris provides leadership for a number of community collaborations related to high conflict separation/divorce and FASD. She engages in teaching, training, and program development in family assessments and family therapy, FASD, domestic violence, cognitive behaviour therapy, and other forensic issues. Dr. Harris supervises graduate students and has co-authored papers in several scholarly journals, a book chapter, and a variety of publications for clinical practice and training.

Constable Anthea Fordyce has been a Police Officer for 17 years. She started her policing career with the Metropolitan Police Service in London England and served there for 6 years. During her time in the UK, she worked in various segments of the Police Service such as Criminal Investigations, Surveillance Unit, Public Order teams, as well as a bomb search team member. Anthea immigrated to Canada and joined the London Ontario Police Service 11 years ago. During her time with the London Police Service, she has worked as a front line patrol officer, training officer, is part of the London Police Service Crisis negotiator team and has spent the last 7 years working in the Community Services Unit. Anthea was a high school resource officer for 6 years working in many high schools across the City of London. She has extensive knowledge and experience of the school system for children with complex disabilities. Anthea is also the mother to five children. She has two adopted children and both have been diagnosed with FASD. Anthea is currently the Diversity Officer for the London Police Service and is a strong advocate for children with special needs.

Workshop Description:Youth and adults with FASD are over-represented in the justice system. In this workshop, a police officer, who is also a parent of children with FASD, joins with a forensic psychologist to address one of the major fears of caregivers; that their child with FASD will come into contact with the law and enter into the justice system. This workshop will address these fears through information sharing, discussion, and case study analysis about prevention, police responses at school and in the community, justice system services, and outcomes. By the conclusion of this workshop, learners will:

  • Know different approaches for preventing justice system involvement from the perspective of a parent-police officer and clinical research
  • Understand the police response to a call involving a child or youth with FASD, whether at school or in the community
  • Gain knowledge and skills for advocating for youth once in the justice system

FASD: Opportunities for Improved Outcomes (Angela Geddes, CYW, BA (Psych), MSW, RSW)

Biography: Angela Geddes has over 25 years of experience providing education and support for individuals and families with very complex needs. She currently works both in Private Practice offering Social Work assessment and support and is also the FASD Project Coordinator at Health Nexus. Angela remains passionate about raising awareness to improve the circumstances for those currently affected by PAE, and certainly to reduce the instances of PAE in the future.

Workshop Description: By the conclusion of this workshop, learners will:

  • Be better positioned to screen and identify individuals who may have been prenatally exposed to alcohol within our agencies.
  • See opportunities to tailor existing support, treatment, and assessment plans within your scope of practice to be more inclusive of FASD.
  • Be familiar with referral options and active FASD family/caregiver support groups in Ontario
  • Consider the need to look beyond a trauma and resiliency informed approach and think about PAE as an adverse childhood experience.
Download Workshop Descriptions

Questions? Contact


What technology do I need to attend?

Conference announcements

Conference overview

About the organizers

About the presenters and their workshops

General agenda and speakers

Research Posters

Art Gallery