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Episode Info: I know I say every episode is my favourite and they are – but this one is another home run in terms of a professional that truly not only gets FASD but she hits it out of the ballpark. Dr. Jacqueline Pei, R.Psych., Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Also a practicing Registered Psychologist for the past twenty years, Dr. Pei began her career as a criminologist and forensic counselor working with incarcerated youth. Motivated by this early work, she returned to academia to study youth at risk, child development, and neuropsychology, leading to her current focus on interventions for individuals with FASD. She currently leads the Intervention Network Action Team (iNAT) for the Canada FASD Research Network.Her information is science-backed and tested in clinical settings. She has also created an awesome document as a roadmap for success for individuals on the Spectrum. In fact, the analogy of cars and roads, and the journey is exactly how she describes her document. But before we get there, we cover a lot of ground (did you see what I did there?), including: Dr. Pei’s origin story – or how she came to know about and work in the FASD field; Digging deeper into what a neuropsychological assessment is and the benefits of a reassessment;The importance of being a brain detective when examining behaviour – or symptoms - of the disability; and Advice on getting the assessment and how to present information to other professionals. “My responsibility is to identify information that is useful for families and educators and service providers to meaningfully respond to the needs of these children, adolescents, or adults. If I’m not doing that, I’m not doing my job.” We also spend quite a bit of time talking about the inspiration for, the professionals involved with, and the content of her excellent new FASD intervention model: Towards Healthy Outcomes for Individuals with FASD. “We have been looking at the potholes, not the road. We have been focussed on where we want to avoid, not where we want to go. The evidence-based document depicts what a healthy outcome looks like for any human being and so at its crux, it is about healthy outcomes for human beings. Because FASD is not something that extracts you from the human condition. You are a human being first, so let’s talk about healthy outcomes for human beings and then let’s consider areas that we want to promote healthy outcomes, and then let's think about how we might tailor the supports in the vehicle, the roadways, the systems that are around these individuals to accomplish those. But the outcomes are not any different for someone with or without FASD.” Dr. Pei is so good at taking complex information and putting it in a context and format that is so easy to understand. Maybe that is why I enjoy interviewing her. We both strive to make information acc...
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