Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is one of the most prevalent brain-based disabilities developed as a result of maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. The condition may lead to physical, mental, learning, behavioural and/or social skill impairments with possible lifelong implications.

To honour FASD Awareness Day on September 9, 2020, Surrey Place is hosting a multi-day webinar series to build capacity, knowledge and resilience in FASD, as well as engage participants in an interactive dialogue with content experts from across Canada, self-advocates diagnosed with FASD and families and caregivers. 

This webinar is designed to educate, share experiences and bring awareness to this disorder’s preventable nature. 

Webinar Series Details


Epidemiology & Diagnosis

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 
10:00 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. (EDT) 


Dr. Cook will describe and present results from the groundbreaking Dataform research project, which has captured information about hundreds of FASD diagnoses made across Canada. The project aims to better understand this life-long disorder and support individuals and families through improved understanding of service needs and informing policy and practice across the country. 

Dr. Temple will provide an overview of current diagnostic criteria for FASD and review some of the clinical signs and symptoms of the disorder. She will also present results from a new research project that describes how receiving an FASD diagnosis can improve lives through better understanding and increased access to supports and services. 

Moderator: Meagan Blunt 


Living with the Disorder

SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 
10:00 A.M. – 11:30 P.M. (EDT)


In this panel discussion, you will hear firsthand accounts from individuals living with FASD. Conversations will include subjects like motherhood, education, employment, and the impact of the diagnosis. Learn from these women’s personal stories, unique strengths, and hear how these individuals are each living with resilience. 

Moderators: Ann Lindsay, Eric Marier 


Parenting a Child with FASD

SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 
10 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. (EDT) 


In this panel discussion, you will hear family & caregivers discuss their experience of parenting a child/adult with FASD. They will share the joys and challenges of supporting their child’s unique needs. Conversations will address a variety of subjects including diagnosis, support networks, advocacy, clinical services, community programs, respite, and government benefits that can assist in caring for a person with FASD. 

Moderators: Dr. Michael Sgro, Meagan Blunt 


Dr. Jocelynn Cook – Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jocelynn Cook has a long history in the field of alcohol and pregnancy, in both an academic and a program and policy context. She received a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours Biology) from Bishop’s University and then a PhD in Physiology from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Cook studied the effects of alcohol consumption on preterm birth for her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alberta. She has worked with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch’s FASD Team developing cost-benefit analyses for FASD diagnosis and intervention programming. She is a past member of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Commission’s FASD Expert Advisory Committee, the National Institute of Health’s Expert Advisory Committee on Terminology related to FAS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s FAS Task Force.

Janice – Parent

Janice is the parent of an 8-year-old boy with FASD. Since adopting her son when he was 1 year old, Janice has learned how to access infancy and childhood services. She is a single mother, working full-time while ensuring that she meets her child’s complex and changing needs. As an advocate for her son, Janice has spent many years navigating complex support systems and finding ways to help him reach his full potential.

Jessica Lundeen – Parent

Jessica Lundeen is the parent of a 13-year-old girl with FASD, along with several other diagnoses, including an intellectual disability. Her daughter was adopted when she was three years old. Jessica is an active advocate for caregivers of adopted children, currently working as a Regional Parent Liaison with Adopt4Life, a non-profit organization that provides post-adoption support for families across Ontario. She will share her experience adapting to her daughter’s academic, social, and emotional needs while attempting to maintain her work/life balance.

Melony Mclean – Self Advocate

Melony Mclean* was diagnosed with FASD at 22 years old. She has overcome many obstacles in her life and is proud of her work experience. She currently works at a coffee shop where she sells confectionery items, baked goods, freshly brewed coffee, sandwiches and salads prepared daily. This position has allowed Melony to gain experience as a barista and customer service representative, while learning leadership skills and eventually taking on the responsibility of training other staff. Melony has also developed work experience at a grocery store, a bakery and catering company, and in the non-profit sector doing administration and self-advocacy work. Melony loves acting, singing and travelling whenever she can. She is a mother and has experience raising a child while navigating her diagnosis. *Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the individual.

Kate M. – Parent 

Kate M. is the adoptive parent of children impacted by FASD and has fostered many other impacted children as well. She is also active in supporting permanency planning for youth who have aged out of foster care. Kate has seen firsthand that, while FASD can affect how children and youth negotiate life, education, and relationships, those impacted have many strengths. Most days you can find Kate (and her children) dancing around the kitchen, while simultaneously advocating for school support, teaching self-regulation and planning for the future.

Debbie and Bill Michaud – Caregiver

Debbie and Bill Michaud live in Sioux Lookout, Ontario and have been caring for and fostering individuals with FASD for over 20 years. In their professional lives, Bill works with adults with developmental disabilities at Community Living and Debbie worked with children and families at Kenora-Rainy River Child and Family Services but is now an instructor at confederation college and a PhD student. Both have extensive experience, both personally and professionally, with overcoming obstacles to support and care for people with FASD.

Colette Philcox – Self-Advocate

Colette Philcox was not diagnosed with FASD until later in life. During her childhood and youth, her parents did not understand why she frequently acted out. They asked Colette to move out of their home, and, after struggling in the shelter system, she found herself living on the streets. During this time, Colette became pregnant. Her parents helped her register for ODSP and move into an apartment. After a second child arrived, she and her partner decided to separate. Colette’s children lived with their grandparents for ten years, until Colette was able to create a stable environment for them. Now in her thirties, Colette is dedicated to helping young people understand the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. She works part-time in the film industry and is a full-time parent to her son and daughter. 

Dr. Valerie Temple – Keynote Speaker 

Dr. Valerie Temple (PhD. C. Psych.), Clinical Psychologist and Professional Practice Leader, works with individuals and families in Toronto, as well as those living in remote communities in northwestern Ontario through Surrey Place’s MMW Video conferencing program. Dr. Temple has published research papers and book chapters on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Down Syndrome, and Autism. She is a member of CanFASD a national collaborative network of researchers focused on FASD, and FASD-ONE an Ontario network of professionals involved in FASD support.

Partners and Supporters

Surrey Place

Surrey Place helps children and adults living with developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and visual impairments reach their full potential. They offer a variety of groups and workshops for clients, families and caregivers, as well as extensive education and consultation services to community agencies.

Scarborough Health Network FASD Diagnostic Clinic

Scarborough Health Network (SHN) provides a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services to support inpatient and emergency programs, as well as referrals from outpatient clinics at the hospital and in the community.

St. Mike’s FASD Diagnostic Clinic

This clinic uses a multidisciplinary approach that provides diagnostic services, a plan of care for each identified individual, and co-ordination of community referrals as needed. The clinic assesses individuals of all ages with suspected FASD.

SickKids Foundation

Established in 1972, SickKids Foundation raises funds on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children. The Foundation’s fundraising is driven by the belief that improving the health and well-being of children is one of the most powerful ways to improve society.

Contact Information

Questions: Meagan Blunt – Meagan.blunt@surreyplace.ca 
Registration: wellness.registration@surreyplace.ca 

By 2 months

Has your baby had their hearing screened? YES NO

By 6 months

Does the child?

Startle in response to loud noises? YES NO
Turn to where a sound is coming from? YES NO
Make different cries for different needs (hungry, tired)? YES NO
Watch your face as you talk? YES NO
Smile/laugh in response to your smiles and laughs? YES NO
Imitate coughs or other sounds such as ah, eh, buh YES NO

By 9 months

Does the child?

Respond to their name? YES NO
Respond to the telephone ringing or a knock at the door? YES NO
Understand being told no? YES NO
Get what they want through using gestures (reaching to be picked up)? YES NO
Play social games with you (Peek-a-Boo)? YES NO
Enjoy being around people? YES NO
Babble and repeat sounds such as babababa or duhduhduh? YES NO

By 12 months

Does the child?

Follow simple one-step directions (sit down)? YES NO
Look across the room to a toy when adult points at it? YES NO
Consistently use three to five words? YES NO
Use gestures to communicate (waves hi/bye, shakes head for no)? YES NO
Get your attention using sounds, gestures and pointing while looking at your eyes? YES NO
Bring you toys to show you? YES NO
Perform for social attention and praise? YES NO
Combine lots of sounds together as though talking (abada baduh abee)? YES NO
Show an interest in simple picture books? YES NO

By 18 months

Does the child?

Understand the meaning of in and out, off and on? YES NO
Point to more than 2 body parts when asked? YES NO
Use at least 20 words consistently? YES NO
Respond with words or gestures to simple questions (Where's teddy? What's that?)? YES NO
Demonstrate some pretend play with toys (gives teddy bear a drink, pretends a bowl is a hat)? YES NO
Make at least four different consonant sounds (p ,b, m, n, d, g, w, h)? YES NO
Enjoy being read to and sharing simple books with you? YES NO
Point to pictures using one finger? YES NO

By 2 years

Does the child?

Follow two-step directions (Go find your teddy bear and show it to Grandma.)? YES NO
Use 100 to 150 words? YES NO
Use at least two pronouns (you, me, mine)? YES NO
Consistently combine two to four words in short phrases (Daddy hat. Truck go down.)? YES NO
Enjoy being around other children? YES NO
Begin to offer toys to other children and imitate other children's actions and words? YES NO
Use words that are understood by others 50 to 60 per cent of the time? YES NO
Form words or sounds easily and without effort? YES NO
Hold books the right way up and turn the pages? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 30 months

Does the child?

Understand the concepts of size (big/little) and quantity (a little/a lot, more)? YES NO
Use some adult grammar (two cookies, bird flying, I jumped)? YES NO
Use over 350 words? YES NO
Use action words such as run, spill, fall? YES NO
Participate in some turn-taking activities with peers, using both words and toys? YES NO
Demonstrate concern when another child is hurt or sad? YES NO
Combine several actions in play (puts blocks in the train and drives the train, drops the blocks off.)? YES NO
Put sounds at the beginning of most words? YES NO
Use words with two or more syllables or beats (ba-na-na, com-pu-ter, a-pple)? YES NO
Recognize familiar logos and signs involving print (Stop sign)? YES NO
Remember and understand familiar stories? YES NO

By 3 years

Does the child?

Understand who, what, where and why questions? YES NO
Create long sentences using five to eight words? YES NO
Talk about past events (trip to grandparents house, day at child care)? YES NO
Tell simple stories? YES NO
Show affection for favourite playmates? YES NO
Engage in multi-step pretend play (pretending to cook a meal, repair a car)? YES NO
Talk in a way that most people outside of the family understand what she/he is saying most of the time? YES NO
Have an understanding of the function of print (menus, lists, signs)? YES NO
Show interest in, and awareness of, rhyming words? YES NO
Read to stuffed animals or toys? YES NO
Scribble with crayons? YES NO

By 4 years

Does the child?

Follow directions involving three or more steps (First get some paper, then draw a picture and give it to Mommy)? YES NO
Use adult type grammar? YES NO
Tell stories with a beginning, middle and end? YES NO
Talk to try and solve problems with adults and with other children? YES NO
Show increasingly complex imaginary play? YES NO
Talk in a way that is understood by strangers almost all the time? YES NO
Generate simple rhymes (cat-bat)? YES NO
Match some letters with their sounds (letter b says buh, letter t says tuh)? YES NO