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Edmonton Alberta is now home to a unique housing facility specifically for individuals diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The Hope Terrace Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program includes access to a case management and 24/hour support team. This facility is owned by Homeward Trust with the Bissell Centre providing internal and external support services for residents.

Internal supports are provided by a case management team that is able to tailor programming and support to the resident. The needs addressed may range from mental health and addiction supports to daily living and financial skills, however, are unique to the individual needs of the resident.

The case management team’s support workers are able to accompany residents to various appointments and commitment and work to establish a sense of community through group outings and in-house cultural supports for indigenous folks.

2011-07-11-19-19hope-terrace

Image source: http://homewardtrust.ca/programs/completed-details.php?id=23

Bissel Centre website for contact & extended information.

Global News Edmonton also covered this story. Click on the link for the news article and footage.

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April 16th, 2016 The Current on CBC radio presented an episode on Bill C-235 proposed by Liberal MP Larry Bagnell introduced in January of this year. Bill C-235 targets those affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) that are seemingly caught in the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system in Canada. Offenders involved in the Canadian criminal justice system are often a forgotten demographic of individuals with limited access to effective FASD specific interventions and community transitional programs. 

For more information on Bill C-235 or to listen to the full CBC radio program on this topic please click the above links.

In order to better support those affected by FASD in the Canadian criminal justice system Bill C-235 is proposing the following changes in legislation:

  • Access to assessments for individuals suspected of having FASD

  • Allowing assessment to inform sentencing of these offenders

  • Reintegration plan for community transitions

The CBC radio episode features an interview with Russ Hilsher who has FASD and is a spokesperson for Initiatives for Just communities and discusses his personal experience in the Canadian criminal justice system and the need for programs and services for individuals with FASD involved in this system. As well as discussions on the proposed Bill C-235  with Jonathan Rudin, program director of Aboriginal Legal services and chair of FASD Justice Committee and Dan Brodsky, criminal defense lawyer with the Association in the Defense of the Wrongly Convicted

KnowFASD

After what seems like far too long, KnowFASD is back in operation! To those of you who use the site regularly and have been waiting for its return, thank you for your patience.

If you have never visited the site, please feel free to drop by and check it out! Take a browse through the interactive home page and learn more/find help on the site’s wiki.

Our goal with KnowFASD is to provide a comprehensive site where viewers can learn about the neurobehavioural deficits associated with FASD throughout the lifespan and link to intervention options.

The main homepage of the website is an interactive interface where viewers can scroll through the lifespan of individuals with FASD, with neurobehavioural issues at each developmental stage presented as they may appear in day-to-day life. By clicking on a neurobehavioural issue, viewers are directed to a “wiki” (which works in a similar fashion to Wikipedia) housing information from current research on the neurobehavioural issue at hand. Each wiki page discusses a specific neurobehavioural issue: how it presents, potential causes, and potential consequences. At the bottom of each page, a link is provided to topic-specific intervention options.

Please feel free to visit the site, pass it along, and give us your feedback or suggestions. Check back often as we continue to upload information, links, and resources.

Visit KnowFASD

Image source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/yukon-s-pioneer-fasd-residence-is-working-staff-1.2741867

 

In May, we wrote a post on Supportive Living for Adults with FASD in Yukon Territory. “Dun Kenji Ku” (“The People’s Place”), a housing complex for individuals with FASD which offers on-site supports and connections to community resources, has been in operation for over 6 months now.

We are pleased to learn that the program appears to be working, citing lower rates for serious incidents and RCMP involvement. With the potential to mitigate the secondary disabilities associated with FASD, housing complexes such as Dun Kenji Ku could prove to be an excellent intervention option for adults with FASD. Currently, 15 individuals are successfully living in the building.

Read the CBC news article/watch the video for more information and to hear from residents.

Image source: http://www.yukon-news.com/news/new-housing-opens-for-people-with-fasd/

 

Difficulty with independent living is an issue faced by many adults with FASD. Research by Streissguth et al. showed that approximately 80% of adults with FASD in their study were living dependently.1  Streissguth et al.2  found that living in a stable supportive home was a protective factor against adverse life outcomes for individuals with FASD.

The Options for Independence Society is attempting to make stable independent living arrangements more attainable by providing living space and supports for adults with FASD in Whitehorse. “Dun Kenji KU“, meaning “The People’s Place” opened in February in Whitehorse as a supportive housing building for those with FASD. The Options for Independence Society carried out the project with support from the territorial and federal governments and the city of Whitehorse.

The 14 unit building includes supports such as affordable rent, connections to community resources, and on site supports such as cooking, cleaning and maintenance assistance as well as the provision of one meal a day.

Those involved in the project hope that the housing complex will lead to decreased strain on emergency resources and improved quality of life for those with FASD through increased stability.

To read more about the housing program, see the news articles below:

New housing opens for people with FASD” in Yukon News

Options for Independence Opens New Residence”  in Whitehorse Daily Star

Options for Independence, Whitehorse YT” from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

“‘Dun Kenji Ku,’ a place for people with FASD” on “Life in Yukon” Blog

References:

  1. Streissguth, A.P., Barr, H.M., Kogan, J., & Bookstein, F.L. (1996). Understanding the Occurrence of Secondary Disabilities in Clients with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE): Final Report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seattle: University of Washington, Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit.
  2. Streissguth, A.P., Bookstein, F.L., Barr, H.M., Sampson, P.D., O’Malley, K., & Young, J.K. (2004). Risk factors for adverse life outcomes in fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects. Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Pediatrics, 25, 228–238

 

Yes, early intervention is extremely important for a child with FASD, but we need to remember that  many of the difficulties that children with FASD experience continue into adulthood. It is important that services continue after a child has completed their school-age years. Unfortunately, many adults and older individuals with FASD have a hard time accessing services and end up experiencing many secondary disabilities, such as financial difficulty, trouble in the workplace, and inability to live independently.

So I was delighted to come across an article called “When the Bus Stops Coming: Special Education Students Face Life After Graduation” in Leesburg Today from Loudon County, Virginia about the services offered by Loudon County Public Schools’ (LCPS) Career Transition Services Department. The department recently hosted a fair called “When the Bus Stops Coming” to provide employment and housing information to students who will likely not be able to live/work independently following the transition from school into adulthood.

Several times in the article, the apparent lack of resources and options for these teens/adults with disabilities is mentioned.  In response to this, the article mentions several great resources in the county and the state, such as:

FOR OUR CANADIAN READERS:

The article stresses the importance of starting early when transition planning. Start researching now! In order to help you get your planning underway, check out these Canadian sites:
 …
LMAPD Report by Province Pages in each province’s most recent annual LMAPD report outlining employment services in that province for adults with disabilities:
pp. 5-7
pp. 5-39
pp. 8-42
pp. 3-10
pp. 5-33
pp. 6-21
pp. 4-7
pp. ii-ix
pp. 2-3

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