If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.
We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.
Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.
Breakout Session A
|A1||The FASD Toolkit: Reducing Stigma with Strength-Based Media and Story Telling
Michael Harris, MA, LP, SEP; Rebecca McDonald; Nancy Smith
The #FASDtoolkit is a community generated media campaign about FASD, funded by a MOFAS grant and created by the American Indian community. The toolkit focuses on strength-based messaging to support individuals living on the FASD spectrum. In this presentation, the producers behind the toolkit will discuss their process and clips from the toolkit film will be shown.
|A2||Pills + Skills = Success: Optimizing Psychotropic Medication for Children and Adolescents with an FASD
Mark Sloane, DO
This session will explore strategies to optimize and reduce the use of psychotropic medication for children and adolescents on the FASD spectrum with challenging behaviors. It will briefly review the brain-behavior connection related to medications, explore a proposed medication algorithm, and discuss non-medical professionals role regarding psychotropic medication prescribing and monitoring.
|A3||8 Peaceful Parenting Strategies to Reduce Rage
Samantha Moe, MA, SLP
Children with an FASD push the limits and try to control their environments in an attempt to feel safe. Unfortunately, when a child yells, demands, and disrespects their caregivers it triggers a negative relationship dynamic that becomes exhausting and creates instability rather than security. Discover 8 peaceful, and practical, parenting strategies that are critical to helping children feel safe and develop self-control so you enjoy spending time together.
|A4||Utilizing the Nurtured Heart Approach in Classrooms Designed for Students with an FASD
Anne Byer, PhD, LP; Kim Martin, MA
This session will describe a classroom created for students who present in ways consistent with prenatal exposure to alcohol. The classroom philosophy is based on The Nurtured Heart Approach. Specifically, the presentation will describe the process in developing the philosophy of the program, the logistics in establishing the classroom environment, and on-going staff development used to maintaining the classroom culture and stay true to the Nurtured Heart Approach.
Breakout Session B
|B1||Transforming Stigma through Our Collective Stories: The MOFAS Birth Mother’s Panel
Moderator: Kelley Prock; Panelists: Tiffany Morgan; Carol Peterson; Lugene Flowers
This panel presentation will showcase a group of strong and resilient women who are birth mothers of children on the FASD spectrum. By sharing their power stories and journeys they are working to transform stigma into hope and to create community awareness of the risks associated with drinking during pregnancy and to build better futures for children living on the FASD spectrum.
|B2||Hello From the Other Side: How to Bridge the Knowledge Gap to Accessing Services
Anne Robertson, Esq; Rochelle Chen, Esq
Minnesota is moving toward competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities, including those with histories of prenatal alcohol exposure. This presentation provides young adults and families with an overview of services available to support competitive, integrated employment. State vocational rehabilitation agencies, counties, schools, and the Social Security Administration are all possible funding sources/service providers to help youth with disabilities get and keep a job.
|B3||Historical Trauma in the American Indian Community: How Healing and Prevention Must go Together
Karina Forrest Perkins, MA, LADC
Trauma not only effects those who directly experience it, but also those in the generations that follow. Historical trauma is the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding across generations, including the lifespan, which emanates from massive group trauma. This session will focus on how overwhelming stress causes adaption in development, how genetics are impacted by the environment, and how our systems are designed to work in isolation, not in concert. You will also learn strategies on how we might redesign our systems to improve outcomes in the populations we prioritize.
|B4||Opportunity in Conflict: Communication Skills and Restorative Practices for Individuals with an FASD
Everyday problems and conflicts provide opportunities to teach communication and social skills to persons with an FASD. When parents and teachers respond using the techniques of mediators, problems transform into learning experiences. Restorative Justice can be employed to repair harm and teach persons with an FASD to be responsible community members.
Breakout Session C
|C1||Guardianship and Supplemental Needs Trusts
Jason Schellack, Esq
Planning for your child’s future now is critical to ensuring they will have important legal and financial protections into adulthood. In this session, participants will learn about the process for establishing legal guardianship for adult children with disabilities from start to finish. Participants will also learn about the important role government benefits can play in planning for their children’s future. This session will discuss a number of estate planning tools, including supplemental needs trusts that allow parents to continue to provide for their children, without disqualifying them for government benefits.
|C2||Working with Families of Students with Disabilities Facing Special Education Referral to Juvenile Court
Amy Goetz Esq; Andrea Jepsen Esq
This session will cover the rights of students in juvenile court proceedings, how to help prepare families and youth for court, how to connect special education rights to juvenile court referrals, collateral consequences, and avoiding or minimizing harm. We will offer tips, strategies, and practical suggestions to stop patterns of court referrals from schools, to best protect juveniles in court proceedings, while incarcerated and when released, to identify and address underlying problems, and to create solutions to keep students safe, successful, and in school. Bring your questions and ideas!
|C3||Beyond the Diagnosis: Effective Interventions for Children and Adolescents with an FASD
Julian Davies, MD
This presentation will share the latest research on FASD interventions, as well as practical parenting and teaching tips learned from families and research colleagues. This will include information on early intervention, practical sleep/feeding/sensory strategies, positive behavior supports, help for self-regulation and executive functions, medications, educational approaches, and adolescent transitions.
|C4||Into Action Overview and Application
Jeanne Gerhardt-Cyrus; Ivory Gerhardt Cyrus
This presentation will provide an overview of Into Action developed by Diane Malbin. The participants will gain an overview of FASD as a brain- based physical disability, most often a hidden disability. Into Action is a strengths-based approach to enable those affected by prenatal exposure (and other neurobehavioral issues) to work towards success. Participants will be introduced to the process for determining brain tasks and brain functioning as well as strengths in a structured approach as a way to identifying accommodations and supports for individuals specific to their particular settings, needs and strengths. This is NOT a list of recommendations; it is an intro to the process of developing strategies particular to the individual.
Breakout Session D
|D1||Moving and Shaking: Family Toxic Behaviors Unpacked
Join members of the African American Babies Coalition for an informative session about supporting the healthy development of babies by addressing trauma and toxic stress and understanding brain science. When we know better we do better. When we understand how our behaviors as adults are shaped by our own trauma and adverse experiences we can make new choices that will lead to healthy outcomes for our entire community.
|D2||A Preconception Approach to Preventing FASD
Jessica D. Hanson, PhD; Jamie Jensen, MS
Public health officials conclude that the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEP) should begin preconceptually by focusing on two behaviors: preventing unintended pregnancies or reducing alcohol consumption in women at-risk for, or planning, pregnancy. Our session will describe risk factors for AEP and the controversy surrounding AEP prevention with preconceptional women, wrapping up our presentation by detailing our current efforts to prevent AEP in South Dakota. Specifically, our multidisciplinary team collaborates with the Oglala Sioux Tribe on an AEP prevention program called the OST CHOICES Program, which focuses on reducing risk for AEP in non-pregnant American Indian women by utilizing motivational interviewing to decrease binge drinking and/or increase contraception use.
|D3||Getting up to Speed with Special Education
Dan Stewart, PhD, JD; Maren Hulden, JD
Special education services can be critically important for students with prenatal alcohol syndrome. However, sometimes things go wrong at school – including the school not understanding what FASD/PAE really is, not having the right kind of services, and dealing ineffectively with challenging behaviors. And, when things go wrong, a student could miss out on getting an appropriate education and could even face school discipline or even be put into a physical hold or a seclusion room. This session will provide families with an overview of special education rights and ways to use the system to improve services and prevent negative consequences.
|D4||The Communication of Behavior
Joe’L Eddington Farrar, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, BCBA
Individuals with FASD often present as being higher functioning than their actual skill levels. This is due to the expressive language skills being higher than the receptive skills. The divide between identification of a behavior versus a difficulty with communication often results in further difficulty for individuals with FASD. This discrepancy can result in being identified as a behavior problem. Often behavior plans and medications are recommended without a complete understanding of the person’s higher level communication skills. This session will address the difference between behaviors which are willful versus communication impairments which manifest as behaviors.
Breakout Session E
|11:00 a.m. – noon|
|E1||MOFAS Father’s Panel
Moderator: Shauna Feine, BSW; Panelists: Marc Laurie; Jim Seas; Pat McArdle
Men play an important role in preventing FASD and also supporting individuals living with the disorder. This session will provide a perspective that is often overlooked and give a voice to fathers raising individuals on the spectrum.
|E2||Step by Step: Practical Strategies for Parents Living with Toxic Stress
Kathy Hotelling, PhD
By definition, toxic stress is strong, frequent, and/or prolonged adversity. This kind of stress increases risk for disease and cognitive impairment and affects the wellbeing of all in the family. Unfortunately, there is no one panacea for FASD and its effects on our lives. But small steps in form of practical strategies accumulate to provide different levels of relief at different times. Learn to create buffers of support to make stressful life events more tolerable. Plenty of time will be devoted to discussion.
|E3||Supporting School Success for Students with an FASD and Histories of Trauma
Charlene Myklebust, PsyD
Often times, children with an FASD confront complex challenges in school settings. This presentation will share research and insight into how the combination of FASD and exposure to trauma impacts brain development, functioning, and educational performance. Strategies for preventative measures and interventions designed to better support school success will be offered to educators.
|E4||Living Outside the Box
Tina Andrews, Med
This workshop focuses on looking at FASD as an example of neurodiversity instead of just a disability. Drawing on the work of Thomas Armstrong, Ross Greene and Diane Malbin, participants are invited to explore ways to understand and support their loved ones, clients and students as “normal” for themselves. Discussion will center on examining how bias toward one “right” way of being prevents the construction of “good fit” environments for individuals affected by FASD at home, school, work, and in the community and how to change that to creating opportunities for special needs individuals to thrive.