The External Brain: Meeting the needs of children with FASD

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time



4790 Tebo Ave

4790 Tebo Avenue

Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8A9


View Map

Event description


The Nuuchahnulth Child and Youth Services program will be hosting Dr Diane Russell (clinical neuropsychologist with a Ph.D from the University of Windsor) to provide a workshop on Parenting strategies for supporting children with FASD. Dr. Russell studied with the late Byron Rourke and specialized in the neuropsychology of learning disabilities and other brain-related disorders in children. In the past, she has worked at the Nanaimo Complex Developmental and Behavioural Conditions (CDBC) clinic completing assessments of children and adolescents with FASD and assessments of complex children and youth. She has been in private practice for almost 30 years conducting assessments with individuals who have learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, neurological impairments, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, FASD, ADHD, as well as children who are gifted. We are excited to host Dr. Russell here in Port Alberni.

It is hoped that workshop participants gain information and ideas for working with individuals who were prenatally exposed to alcohol. it is hoped that some new ideas will be available to participants, in addition to confirming ones they may already have and use.

This workshop provides some basic information regarding prenatal alcohol exposure and FASD (e.g., brain areas affected, labels vs. diagnosis, etc.). It is suggested that participants throw away "traditional" parenting concepts and ideas and replace these with strategies that should be helpful. Rationale for why this is beneficial is provided. Numerous concepts are discussed (e.g., "external brains", relationships, routine, structure, consistency, transitions, concrete thinking, learning styles, repetition, supervision, etc.). Information is provided with regard to Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and its importance in working with individuals with FASD. issues related to developmental "timelines" for individuals with fASD are discussed. This is then related to ensuring that expectations are appropriate. Concepts such as "fair" vs. ""equal" are discussed. The "spectrum" of FASD is presented (in order to consider the uniqueness of every individual). The importance of self-care for caregivers is presented, along with the concepts of "do overs" and patience. The needs for respite options and de-stressing are presented. Some options for resources and connections are discussed. The critical need to address self-esteem and self-confidence is presented.

The following is a breakdown of what will be covered in the presentation:

  1. Brief overview of FASD

  2. Labels vs diagnosis - why assessments and diagnosis are important in FASD

  3. Throwing away "traditional" parenting concepts and ideas (e.g., behaviour modification, natural and logical consequences, "time out", and discipline etc.)

  4. Replacing with strategies that should be helpful - "tools in the tool belt"

  5. Paradigm shifts

  6. FASD - strategies not solutions booklet

  7. Trying differently rather than harder - Diane Malbin

  8. "external brains"

  9. Concepts: establishing relationships, be curious, don't make assumptions, routine, structure, consistency, transitions, generalizations, "KISS" principle, concrete

  10. Learning styles

  11. Words matter

  12. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

  13. Change the environment, not the child

  14. Think younger

  15. Timelines and FASD

  16. Expectations

  17. Repetition

  18. Supervision

  19. Fair vs Equal

  20. Uniqueness of FASD

  21. Lifelong challenges

  22. Pick your battles

  23. Self-care for caregivers

  24. Patience

  25. Do overs

  26. Connecting with others

  27. Accessing resources

  28. Respite

  29. De-stress

  30. Self-esteem and self-confidence


How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

You can email any questions to

Will lunch or snacks be provided?

Light snacks, coffee and tea will be provided before lunch and after lunch. Lunch will not be provided and will be on your own.

Share with friends

Date and Time


4790 Tebo Ave

4790 Tebo Avenue

Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8A9


View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved