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fasd maine


Families Moving Forward

Summer 2024 Training

June 17, 18, 24 and July 1, 8, 15

10:30-4:30 EDT

Apply by May 28, 2024!

  • Learn scientifically validated strategies to help children living with PAE and/or FASD and their families

  • Gain a thorough understanding of FASD & PAE, including associated stigma, from leading psychologists in the field

  • Connect with FASD United and join a community of like minded professionals

  • Practice and support in using actual session materials to become comfortable with the clinical process

  • Access to the online FMF Portal for full intervention materials specially designed for this clinical population

  • Become a PAE and FASD-informed provider

Alcohol and Covid-19 Pandemic in Maine and the Nation

Maine SEOW

  • Alcohol is the most widely used substance in Maine.

  • Alcohol misuse is a public health concern that became worse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Data show that access to alcohol in Maine has steadily increased along with associated death, injuries, and diseases.

This brief provides information and context for alcohol use in Maine during the pandemic and beyond.

More information on alcohol use among childbearing aged women, pregnant people, rate of substance exposed infants in Maine.

The costs of increased access to alcohol. 

Eileen Devine LCSW

Parent of Child with FAS

Founder of "Brain First Parenting"

Maine families have found that Eileen's support has given them a safe place to:

  • learn more about their child's invisible brain-based disability

  • learn accommodations and intervention that truly support parent/child/family

  • find other families who understand their day-to-day reality, where they will find hope, support, inspiration and reprieve


"When you begin to shift from a parenting approach rooted in behavioral compliance to parenting from a "Brain First" lens, your energy and focus will naturally shift, too.

Making this energetic shift can feel awkward and laborious at first...

You will begin, over time, to slow down your knee-jerk reactions to behaviors, because you now see those behaviors for what they truly are: symptoms of your child experiencing distress, overwhelm and needing more support, versus seeing it as their attempt to intentionally ruin everyone's day.

Instead of all of your energy being centered on behavioral compliance, and what the next consequence will be, you will experience your energy focused on remaining open, curious, and empathetic. The priority now becomes connection, co-regulation, and relationship."

Learn more here

"Families Moving Forward" (FMF)

  • The Families Moving Forward (FMF) Program (based on the work of Diane Malbin MSW) was developed by Dr. Heather Carmichael Olson in the early 2000s in response to a call from the CDC to develop, test, and implement interventions for children living with FASD.

  • FMF is an evidence-based intervention to help families raising children who are affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, with or without a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) diagnosis. 

  • Read more here

FASD Collaborative Project

Free recorded webinars here.

Some topics covered:

  • 9 Core Messages: What Everyone Should Know About Prenatal Alcohol Exposure 

  • Caregiver Success! Parents of Adults with FASD Share What Works

  • A Functional Approach to FASD Diagnosis

  • Educational Care for Children Affected by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

FASD Support Groups online and in person here

FASD Collaborative participating organizations here.

For Educators

FASD Collaborative

Free Recorded Webinars

"Middle School: Spotlight

on Challenging Behaviors"


6 Things Educators and School Staff Should Know About FASD

Nate Sheets 8:00 Video

FASD Specific Support

to Manage Escalation

Nate Sheets 8:00 Video

Dr. Douglas Waite MD

 AAP FASD Champion 

FASD Hope Podcast 

Dr. Waite is one of ten national FASD Champions/American Academy of Pediatrics, sits on the National Mental Health Advisory Board of the Child Welfare League of America, and is a member of the Society of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. In this episode, Dr. Waite addresses:

  • what led him to become involved  with the FASD population

  • the importance of focusing on the adaptive functioning in FASD diagnoses

  • the need for clinical pathways for FASD Diagnoses

  • critical information for those parenting a child with an FASD

     (recorded 2022)

Dr. Waite has presented on FASD to Maine Health Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Maine AAP Foster Care Committee and Conference, Maine Maternal and Child Health SEI Conference.

The Strengths and Positive Influences of Children With

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Carson Kautz-Turnbull, Tangeria R. Adams, and Christie L.M. Petrenko

People with disabilities have not been adequately represented in strengths-based research. This study is the first to examine strengths and positive influences of young children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Using a conversion mixed design, we described themes in strengths and influences, degree of caregiver positivity and relationships with child and family functioning. Caregivers reported wide-ranging strengths and positive influences. 

Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2022 Sep 1; 127(5): 355–368.

  Understanding Suggestibility 


Dr. Jerrod Brown

This episode of the podcast Living with FASD: Candid Conversations 

with Patti Kasper explores the intersection of suggestibility with confabulation and compliance, particularly in high-pressure situations like legal interrogations or in therapy or medical sessions. Dr. Brown guides us through the vulnerabilities that individuals with FASD face.

"Be the Village"

Saskatchewan Prevention


How can we all be a village of support?

Preventing FASD is more than simply recommending no alcohol use in pregnancy. We all have a role to play in preventing FASD.

If you are a partner, family, friend, or community member:


Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

"Pregnant women do not cause FASD. Alcohol causes FASD."​

                        Dr. Ken Jones MD

Why is light drinking a problem?


Why is alcohol such a damaging substance?

Read this to better understand how one could not have designed a substance with more capacity to cause damage, given the perfect storm of factors: 

  • the placenta is not a barrier to alcohol

  • recurrent cycle of fetal swallowing and elimination of alcohol 

  • amniotic fluid acts as a reservoir for alcohol

Do the effects of prenatal  alcohol exposure continue into adulthood?

  • Learn more here  about FASD across the lifespan and how to support the strengths and abilities of those affected.

     (Thank you CANFASD) 

Is alcohol use/prenatal alcohol exposure a concern in Maine?

What can we do to help?

 So much!

Maine providers can participate in the SAFEST Choice Learning Collaborative 

For more information about

FASD Myths and Facts 

"Developmental alcohol exposure is exhausting: Sleep and the enduring consequences of alcohol exposure during development."
Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading nongenetic cause of human intellectual impairment.

The long-term impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure are diverse:

  • Neuropathology

  • Behavioral, cognitive, and emotional impairments

​Additionally negative effects also occur on the physiological level:

  • Endocrine

  • Cardiovascular

  • Immune systems

Among these diverse impacts is sleep disruption. In this review we describe:

  • How prenatal alcohol exposure affects sleep

  • Potential mechanisms of those effects

  • Outline the evidence that sleep disruption across the lifespan may be a mediator of some cognitive and behavioral impacts of developmental alcohol exposure, and thus may represent a promising target for treatment.

Wilson, Donald, et al.Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews Volume 158, March 2024

Image by Abbie Bernet

How to Improve

Executive Function (EF) 

in Individuals with FASD?


Children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) struggle with EF deficits: 

  • problem solving

  • planning

  • shifting tasks

  • verbal and nonverbal fluency

  • impulsivity

  • working memory

These abilities are required for successful functioning in society.

Structured exercise has been shown to:

  • directly cause structural and physiological changes in the brain by increasing blood flow

  • results in upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)

BDNF plays an integral role in:  

  • hippocampal functioning* 

  • neuroplasticity

  • learning

  • memory

  • formation of new neurons and neuroprotection

*The hippocampus is an area of the brain particularly affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

For FASD (and ASD):

  • Exercise interventions were associated with large improvements in executive function (EF).

  • Exercise may be a potentially cost-effective and readily implementable intervention to improve executive function in these populations.

Why No Alcohol During Pregnancy is the Safest Choice

Dr. Vincent Smith MD MPH

Division Chief of Newborn Medicine at Boston Medical Center 

"Although parents with a substance use disorder* have a higher likelihood of having a child with FASD,

most children with FASDs are born to parents who do not have a substance use disorder."

Prenatal alcohol exposure and potential harm can also occur before a person is aware they are pregnant.

Children with prenatal alcohol exposure come from every social, economic, racial, and ethnic group.

In the United States, nearly 1 in 7 pregnant people report alcohol use in the past 30 days.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises:

  • There is no amount of alcohol during pregnancy that is risk-free.

  • There is no kind of alcohol during pregnancy that is risk-free.

  • There is no time during pregnancy when alcohol consumption is risk-free.

Read complete article here

*Substance use disorder is a treatable chronic disease

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75% of children with an FASD have an attention problem and may be diagnosed with ADHD without considering other diagnoses. Attention deficits in children with an FASD without ADHD may derive from deficiencies in:

  • executive functioning skills

  • short-term memory

  • the ability to shift attention

  • slower processing speed

Medications for ADHD may worsen symptoms in children with FASD.

AAP Case Study 

11 yo child with parent concerns about attention, hyperactivity, and sleep

Read recently published research and reports on FASD


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