FASD Learning Series Session 2: Syptoms Expression a success!

FASD Learning Series, Session 2: Symptoms Expression

On May 19, 2021, SFNFCI hosted the second session of the FASD virtual learning series in collaboration with the FASD Network of Saskatchewan. The series is part of the action items of this year’s disability research project funded by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). The session was led by Shana Mohr, training manager from the FASD Network of Saskatchewan. We had 22 participants from various CFS agencies and SFNFCI networks attend the session. Elder Ernestine Starr opened the session with a prayer and was available for support throughout the session.

The second session of the series unpacked some of the primary challenges of FASD. Shana explained while these challenges often may come across from a deficit perspective, one child’s challenge may be another child’s strength. Therefore, recognizing the unique needs and strengths of every child and youth is important for appropriate intervention and accessing support. She also talked about using a person-first language when supporting children and youth with FASD. For example, saying a person is living with an FASD or FASD kids implies that FASD is the only defining characteristic of that individual. Instead, try using inclusive languages such as a child has FASD or an individual with FASD.


It is important to note that not all individuals with FASD will experience all of the primary challenges (physical, cognitive, behavioural, and sensory) neither will they experience them similarly. FASD is a complex disability and so are the challenges associated with it. It is also critical to understand that if a child experiences the challenges, it does not mean that they are unable to achieve the milestones rather it is necessary to recognize and accommodate the external factors to support them and not rush them in reaching those milestones. As Shana describes, the developmental milestones should not be determined by a child’s biological or physical age rather by their developmental stage.

The takeaway message for the second session was to recognize some of the unique challenges an individual with FASD may experience to understand why that individual may be showing certain types of behaviour because when a child is showing a certain type of behaviour, they are trying to say something. Some strategies to support a child with FASD include:

  • Journaling

  • Giving simple tasks and instructions

  • Rephrasing instructions

  • Listening and communicating

  • Finding appropriate medical supports


Participants shared their experiences and thoughts on FASD symptoms. They found the session beneficial in understanding how the symptoms present:

“ I like how they pointed out FASD can not only be physical appearance, but a person can have mental effects. That is how my adopted son is, his mental development was affected but does not show physical appearance to have FASD”

“[I liked] how others would view someone with FASD if they did not know the person had it”

“I really needed to understand the FASD disabilities and how they affect the individual over time, as adults”

To learn more about the disabilities research project click here.

To learn about the FASD learning series click here.

If you need more info or assistance, please contact our researcher Anuja Thapa @ (306) 250-0740 or via email at anuja@sfnfci.ca or program coordinator Lacey Kaysaywaysemat @ (306) 526- 2566 or via email at lacey@sfnfci.ca

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