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Our New Flyer

As you can see, we’ve changed our website to make it easier for caregivers across Ontario who need support, to find us. We continue to help people by phone, seven days a week between 10 am and 10 pm. Answering questions, sharing lived experience and making sure those in the FASD community don’t feel isolated.

Have any questions about how we can support you? Feel free to ring our support line. We look forward to connecting!

September 2022

Parenting children, youth and adults affected by FASD is both rewarding and challenging. It’s safe to say it can  be one of  the most challenging experiences any parent can have. Dealing with systems that still don’t understand, appreciate and accommodate FASD as a brain based, neuro-developmental disability is frustrating, overwhelming, and annoying.

We are two retired social workers, who worked in child welfare for a combined 73 years.  Having met numerous parents and caregivers of individuals living with FASD and listening to their stories motivated us to be part of a group, who in February, 2021, launched Parents Helping Parents FASD Ontario or better known as PHPO.

PHPO is a peer mentoring phone line in which Parent Mentors, themselves parents and caregivers of children, youth and adults affected by FASD offer a listening ear,  support, and judgement-free, compassionate caring to other parents of a family member(s) living with FASD. They share strategies they themselves have used that other parents/caregivers may find helpful, and are knowledgeable about community resources parents/caregivers may wish to access. All have accumulated years of knowledge and experience dealing with a host of service systems: education; child welfare; health; justice; mental health; ODSP; etc.

The Parent Mentors have all received training from the Toronto FASD Leadership Team and over the years have become “experts” when it comes to FASD.

Remember – you not alone!

When you have reached the “end of your rope”, can’t think of anything more you can do, and just want to throw up your hands and walk away, you now have an alternative – PHPO. Please reach out. PHPO connects you to someone who understands what you’re going through and who will try to make your FASD journey easier. They understand because they’ve been there themselves. You are not alone, so let us help you.

If you are experiencing a crisis, you will be referred to you local crisis service. If safety for yourself and or other family members is a concern, contacting the appropriate authorities will be discussed with you.

PHPO is available 7 days a week and can be reached at 647 572-4519.

Mary , MSW & Sharron, MSW

September 30, 2022

FASD IS NOT A PUNCHLINE

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

On January 15th, popular NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live aired a skit that featured prenatal alcohol exposure as the punchline to the joke. The FASD community was understandably shaken to hear the news. As we know, FASD is the most prevalent developmental disability but remains largely underfunded, misunderstood, and misrepresented on the rare occasions that it is mentioned in the media. The Canadian Fetal Alcohol Research Network (CanFASD) released a statement on January 19th, speaking to the stigmatizing effects that this type of media representation of FASD creates. Please see their statement here: https://canfasd.ca/2022/01/19/fasd-advocates-criticize-snl-for-inappropriate-sketch/

Meet Another Parent Mentor

We met parent mentor A last week and now we have another one of our FASD parent community members to introduce! Meet our Tuesday, Thursday and Friday daytime parent community member. The photo of the moose above will make sense from her bio! 🙂

I’m an adoptive parent and foster parent to children, teens and now adults with FASD. I’ve learned through experience that while FASD means we have to do things differently, continually advocate and sometimes get frustrated at the closed doors our kids and our family face, it can also mean watching our kids meet milestones that were not always possible, and learn new skills and strengths. I found my greatest support has always been other parents who walk a similar path and really get it, and I hope to help those who connect with us by listening, understanding and sharing ideas. We are definitely stronger together! 
In my spare time (what spare time?!) I like to be by water, read books and every summer say this is the year I’ll find a moose in it’s natural habitat. One can dream. The reality is most of my days are spent doing dishes, laundry, advocating, making ends meet, and finding creative ways to parent the amazing kids who call me Mom. I also facilitate a peer support group. A great reminder we really are all in this together and sometimes it feels like it’s only other parents in the FASD community who really understand. Welcome! 

Lived Experience Of One Of Our Parents

When I first set out to adopt, I didn’t know too much about FASD. If I’m honest what I did know was rooted in a lot of things that today I know aren’t necessarily true. Back then so many of the struggles associated with FASD were seen as inevitable, whereas now while we know there are things we can’t change, we know far more about what good support looks like for both people with FASD and for their caregivers. We also know how important that support is. 

FASD means I think a lot about the situations my kids will navigate before they get there. I plan a lot for the future. I know despite thousands of reminders they may not remember to look both ways before they cross the street. I know they will struggle to remember things that need to be done before they leave the house, even though they are at an age where most people can do those things independently. I know that each year I will need to advocate at school, helping educators understand that just because my children remembered something yesterday, it doesn’t mean they will today. I know while their bodies have grown, and they have gained skills, there are still lots of vulnerabilities daily that bring risks. I need to help my kids navigate those risk because FASD impacts the part of the brain they need to make safe choices consistently. A Dr once told me it’s like helping them on the inside, from the outside. I believe that is true. 


I also know FASD means that when my kids thrive, they can achieve things people sometimes think they can’t. I know they can suddenly make gains in areas I hoped for years for progress. When they do, I know they deserve lots of encouragement and to know the pride you feel. I worry a lot that the message my kids get is that they are unsuccessful compared to most. It’s not true, their success is just different. 

Most of all I learned I need support. I need to hear from other parents and caregivers, people who understand the emotions, worry, hopes and good moments. I need those suggestions they have when I feel like I’ve run out of ideas. I need the reminder some of the hard things we navigate aren’t anyone’s fault. It’s why I’m so glad this project and community exists. It makes me know we aren’t invisible. There’s a space for us here with people who get it. Hoping anyone reading feels part of this community too. 

A Poem Written By A Youth With FASD

Here at Parents Helping Parents Ontario FASD, we understand that while FASD impacts many ares of life, that doesn’t mean those living with FASD don’t also have strengths, hopes and dreams. Today we feel honoured to share with you a poem written by a youth with FASD, a poignant reminder of the contribution people navigating FASD bring to the work we do and the communities they are in.

There are things about me that are unique 
Unique can be good 
I have friends and interests and hobbies too 
Even if sometimes I need more support than you 

Each day I try my best, and when it doesn’t work it isn’t that I need to try harder 
I can see I’m learning and making progress even when it appears smaller

Your support and help means I am closer to reaching my hopes and goals 
Even when sometimes it feels like when people hear the term FASD they only see the woes

My goals may not always look like yours 
My goals may take a bit more time 
But progress is still progress 
And FASD doesn’t change that

FASD is part of me but it isn’t the whole of me. 
There’s lots of me that is just like you 
And lots of me that’s unique to me too

Meet Parent Mentor A

Did you know we have 11 parent mentors and 2 co-ordinators who support the Parent 2 Parent Ontario FASD project? Each has lived experience as a parent or caregiver to a person with FASD. These mentors cover the phone line Monday through Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm and understand the situations families like yours may face. That’s a huge part of the reason they wanted to be involved, so that parents and caregivers in our community have the support they need to thrive and don’t feel they are facing unique situations alone. Today, we’d like to introduce you to “A” who answers our phone line Mondays from 10 am to 4 pm. 

“My name is “A” and I am a mother of two adopted teenage girls. My older daughter is diagnosed with FASD and ADHD. We have had our fair share of struggles, some pretty scary but she is doing great now, we are all doing ok. Thanks to the help of lots of support put into place. Life is a roller coaster to say the least. My husband passed away in Nov 2019 at 53 years old. It’s amazing what you can get through when not given a choice especially with the right support system. It really takes a village. I have a strong passion for helping people and a strong desire to help fix a very broken mental health system especially regarding navigation. One day at a time.”

Over the coming weeks we hope to introduce you to each of our mentors!  If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section. A huge thank you to A for sharing so generously about her life. We know that her experiences really make a difference in helping others in the #FASD community feel #supported and #connected.