FASD Through a Variety of Lenses

As a new teacher consultant with POPFASD (a program designed to teach other educators in British Columbia about FASD) I wanted to learn more about this disorder through the eyes, experiences and knowledge from others in the field. This first series includes interviews with a motivational speaker with FASD, a nueroscientist, a caregiver, a key-worker, and educators, finishing off with a roundtable discussion about POPFASD and its history. The interviews with these individuals are centered around how we as educators can best support students with FASD in our classrooms.


Myles Himmelreich is a well-known Canadian motivational speaker on FASD. As a person with FASD, Myles shares his knowledge, experiences, passion and hope both nationally and internationally. Myles presented recently at POPFASD’s District Partner Meeting on FASD and its impacts on the whole body. This is where I was able to catch up with him and get his thoughts on how we can best support students with FASD in the classroom.

In this episode, neuroscientist Dr. James Reynolds shares his knowledge, experience and ideas around how we as educators can best support students with FASD. Dr. Reynold’s research focuses on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the developing brain and the resulting cognitive, behavioural and socio-emotional deficits that may occur in children. Dr. Reynolds is the Program Lead for the FASD Research Program in the Kids Brain Health Network, a national Network of Centres of Excellence dedicated to the study of neurodevelopmental disorders in children, and he also serves as the Interim Chief Scientific Officer for the Network.

Parent, adoptive parent and foster parent, Martha, shares her experiences of raising over 13 children with and without FASD as they made their way through school and beyond. Martha’s dedication, care, honesty and love for all her kids is inspiring and evident as she describes the challenges and successes of these kids whose ages range from 35 to currently the adorable 1 year old that can be heard at times in the background. This episode has some great recommendations and insight for educators as we hear from just one of the many, many families out there who care deeply about their kid’s education and success in life.

In this episode, FASD Key Worker, Dena Swann, explains the role of Key Workers and how they might be able to support teachers. Dena’s dedication and care for these kids and their families are clearly felt through her stories. She is a strong advocate for the work they do and the wonderful people they support. It is important to note that the FASD Key Worker programs can look a little different in each region but at the core, they provide support to families of children and youth under 19 with FASD or who are At-Risk for FASD. This can look like meeting with families, liaise with schools, support in accessing community resources, providing clarity and understanding with assessments, attending IEP meetings with families, and much more.

In this episode, two classroom teachers sit down and share their experiences of supporting students using an FASD-Informed approach. Corinna and Nona discuss how they develop those important relationships with students, support student learning through considering their environment and instruction, as well as, how they approach those concerning behaviours in their classrooms. What makes this conversation so unique and interesting is that one teacher is brand new while the other has taught for over 27 years. Although they come with vastly different experiences, using an FASD-Informed approach seems to unite them and brings out many important strategies and stories of success through out this engaging conversation.

In this bonus episode, Kathi Hughes and Stacey Wakabayashi share the entertaining history of POPFASD. Kathi is highly regarded as the key builder of POPFASD and led the program for the first 5 years, while Stacey has been with the program since its start in September 2006. These two provide an engaging account of POPFASD’s evolution from an idea to a prominent program that now services thousands of BC educators each year and many others from around the world.

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