The voices and experiences of children and youth diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are largely absent in research on policy and program supports. In their recent research on provincial supports and services for children and youth with FASD, the Representative for Children and Youth worked directly with children, youth and their families to hear their lived experience with FASD.
Join the researchers who engaged in this unique research project, that included the voices of children and youth between 8 and 18, as they share these experiences.
One of the biggest challenges identified by the young people was the exclusion many faced from their school community. This was found on two levels. First, through a profound lack of understanding of FASD and what impacts could look like for particular students in the classroom. This lack of understanding was experienced at the level of teachers and adult staff in the school resulting in challenges for developing tools and strategies to support this population in their learning. Second, the young people experienced profound social exclusion from their peers. This lack of understanding and resulting social exclusion can be linked to mental health challenges for the youth who participated in the research.
Such impacts raise the following questions: how can we address the challenges faced by students in an inclusive school environment? How do we switch the framework that allows for such profound social exclusion between peers? What is the role of school councillors in supporting an inclusive school environment?
Myles Himmelreich is a well-known motivational speaker, having presented nationally and internationally for many years, sharing his experiences of living with a disability. Myles is a mentor to other youth and adults with FASD, a consultant, and a researcher. Myles was one of two researchers working with the children and youth and their families who informed the Excluded report.