Shakagamik-Kwe Health Centre has made an application to obtain funding for a culturally appropriate FASD assessment clinic to serve Indigenous children and youth in northeastern Ontario (see below for a description of their vision). The proposed funder has asked them to identify a defined group of children who have been identified as needing FASD assessment. To meet this request SKHC is seeking referrals for FASD assessment.
They are accepting referrals for Indigenous children and youth:
- Between 0 and 18 years of age
- Who have been prenatally exposed to alcohol or where there is suspicion of prenatal exposure to alcohol
- Who are experiencing difficulty in meeting age-appropriate expectations / milestones (developmental, language, motor skills, cognitive skills, academic skills, self-regulation or behaviour etc.)
- Who have previously been denied FASD assessment by another provider
- Who have been identified as At Risk for FASD
- Who have been previously unable to complete an FASD assessment
- Who have a diagnosis of FASD by a geneticist and or medical practitioner and require or would benefit from a multidisciplinary assessment
- Who have a diagnosis of FASD but require an updated assessment for transition planning (i.e.: elementary to secondary school planning, transition to young adulthood planning)
They are seeking to identify all Indigenous children and youth in northeastern Ontario who require FASD assessment, even those already awaiting assessment by another provider. Referrals accepted from all sources.
A Vision for Culturally Safe FASD Assessment in Northeastern Ontario
FASD assessment and services at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre would be embedded in the Woven Blanket Model of Care, where the health of a child and family is understood across physical, spiritual, emotional and mental dimensions. Every child, every family will be encouraged to take a major role in their care. Under the guidance of the Traditional Team, FASD prevention, assessment, education, intervention and supportive services will be provided with a holistic culturally focused, client-centered, strength-based, women-centered, trauma informed approach with the goal of empowering the child and family to better advocate for their needs.
The proposal for an Indigenous FASD assessment clinic for northeastern Ontario includes the provision of culturally safe assessment, intervention and FASD education to families; helping to build communities of support for children, youth and families impacted by FASD. FASD services provided by an Indigenous organization, blending traditional knowledge, wisdom and practice with western medicine is hoped to reduce the stigma surrounding FASD. Reducing stigma will help women come forward to pursue assessment on behalf of their child and get the support the child and family critically needs.
Multidisciplinary FASD assessment and diagnosis will be provided consistent with the Canadian Guidelines for Diagnosis guided by a SKHC’s Traditional Team. Principles guiding this model of care will include a holistic approach that seeks to balance all 4 quadrants; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual of the child and family. While the assessment process can be a very clinical process, SKHC seeks to create an environment where the assessment process is also a healing journey.
The approach will be intergenerational and promote self-determination, supporting the child and family to make decisions that are best for them. There will be respect for culture and language, incorporating sacred medicines, ceremonies and ways of knowing into the healing journey. Every child, every family will be central to the journey and encouraged to share responsibility for their health and wellbeing by building relationships with health care providers and support services in both worlds, traditional and western. Each family will be given the support they need to achieve substantive equality in their ability to access, fully participate and benefit from care.