New approaches to helping children with FASD

Where some people tend to focus on weaknesses, Dr. Chris Bertram prefers to focus on strengths. The University of the Fraser Valley kinesiologist has been working with a research team for five years, trying to find ways to help children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder live up their full potential.

Where some people tend to focus on weaknesses, Dr. Chris Bertram prefers to focus on strengths. The University of the Fraser Valley kinesiologist has been working with a research team for five years, trying to find ways to help children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder live up their full potential.

Bertram, this year’s winner of the Teaching Excellence award at UFV, will give a public lecture entitled Finding Strengths, Building Hope on Thursday, October 6, as part of the University Lecture Series.  The talk will be held at 4 p.m. in Room B121 of the UFV Abbotsford campus. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

The talk will focus on two programs for children with FASD, the FAST Club and Brain Gamers, run by the university.

Playing in a gym after school or hanging around playing video games may sound like fun, but they are also the key part of the UFV research project.

UFV has been running FAST Club, an after-school motor-skills program for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, for the past three years. New this year is an after-school video game program. Both projects have a mission of helping children tap into their inner strengths with regards to their motor skills and gaming skills, and investigating whether the impacts of these activities cross over into other areas. Both programs are offered free of charge for children with a diagnosis of FASD.

“A typical approach to treating children with FASD involves focusing on their weaknesses. We do assessments and target their best areas and give them choices about what skills they want to improve upon,” says Bertram, who is UFV Kinesiology program head and one of the project researchers. “We want to identify existing strengths in children with FASD, and to develop these strengths to the fullest capacity of the individual. We have seen positive changes in other brain functions after participating in our FAST club. The jury is still out on why this is, but what’s important to the families participating is that these changes are happening.”

The UFV  project is a part of nation-wide multidisciplinary collaboration that was recently funded by two separate Network Centres of Excellence — NeuroDevNet and GRAND. An overview of the projects will be discussed along with some preliminary data that suggest that targeted approaches to intervention based on an individual’s strengths can lead to neuroplastic changes in children with FASD.

Many UFV students are gaining research experience working on this project.

The University Lecture Series events are free and open to the public, and presented by the UFV Research Services office.

Just Posted

Retirement after owning Main Street Barber Shop for 38 years

Phil and Trudi are looking forward to travelling and spending time with family

Faulty wiring blamed for Chilliwack barn fire Sunday morning

One civilian injured attempting to extinguish blaze on Ballam Road

GW Graham seniors bow out of football playoffs as juniors move on

The senior Grizzlies fell to the John Barsby Bulldogs in a AA playoff game last Saturday.

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema leads Canada to FIFA U-17 World Cup quarter-finals

Canada has gone 2-0 in the tournament with wins over Colombia and the Korean Republic.

Chilliwack Chiefs rally from three down to beat Powell River Kings

The Chiefs followed the come-from-behind win with a loss Sunday afternoon versus Alberni Valley.

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

5 to start your day

Body found in Maple Ridge ID’ed as Hells Angel, Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag gone from Langley classroom and more

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

B.C.’s Esi Edugyan wins $100K Giller prize for Washington Black

Edugyan won her first Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Most Read