Saturday, February 20, 2010

FASD Brief Primer with Dr. Sterling Clarren and Carolyn Hartness

Thursday I took some time to go to the FASD Conference for Southeast Alaska in Centennial Hall. I came in as Dr. Sterling Clarren was getting ready to speak. Clarren has been in on the research on FAS from almost the very beginning. This is a topic where I'm a somewhat informed amateur. My wife has had some training in this area and I was a mentor for an FASD young man.

I urge you to view at least one of Dr. Clarren's videos (they're short) and the Carolyn Hartness video (also short).

Dr. Clarren covered a lot of ground that had been somewhat blurry for me in the past and he did it incredibly well. He had things organized into neat little bits, so that the few videos I took turn out to be like mini-lectures. Instead of putting them into one long video, I've broken them down into three separate videos.

Please recognize these are just a few minutes out of a long talk. But I think anyone could learn something about this issue (and it's something everyone should understand because it has become so pervasive) from watching these three short videos. But keep in mind, these are missing the context of the whole talk.

And I've got one from Carolyn Hartness. If Dr. Clarren is clinically precise, Harkness communicates with her warmth and from the richness of her experiences with her adopted daughter.

Dr. Clarren talks about the early days as FAS was being first recognized and named.

Here Dr. Clarren talks about the FAS Face.

Dr. Clarren defines FAS and FASD and the complications of trying to define them.

Here Dr. Clarren talks about diagnosis:

And here Carolyn Hartness talks about how people have so much trouble 'getting it,' understanding how much parents of FAS kids have to do to help their kids fit into the non FAS world. And how wonderful the kids are.


  1. Thank you for posting these video clips about FASD. I am the adoptive parent of 2 children with FASD and I cannot tell you how many times I've prayed that the world would just see it, get it, understand that my kids could be offered support instead of punishment for their deficits. ~Kari

  2. Kari, Thanks for your comments. I don't think anyone can get it without living it. I think we can get that there are different ways to work with these kids. Both speakers, but Carolyn Hartness particularly, focused on the endearing qualities of these kids.

    I think a ten minute dvd you could hand out to all your kids' teachers - better yet get them to watch it while you are there - would go a long way. These two speakers were really good at organizing their thoughts so I could get good short synopses that said a lot in just a couple of minute clips. Please feel free to share these clips.

  3. Great post!

    I was thrilled to manage to meet Dr. Clarren face to face again this past weekend at the UBC Interprofessional Continuing Education 5th National Biennial Conference on Adolescents and Adults with FASD. I didn't get to the front of the room after any of his presentations, but rather lucked out and ended up in front of him in line at the Tim Horton's a lunch break. I got to shake his hand and thank him for all the difference he has made in the course of my Daughter's life. He was on the team for her initial diagnosis back in 2004. His advice at the time was paramount in assisting me to prepare for, and stave off, the worst expected ill effects that many children develop before the age she is now. He was very personable as always, had several poignant questions, and upon hearing of our positive experience - patted me on the back. How more affirming of a gesture could a parent get? BTW- I have been homeschooling her for the past 4yrs. If anyone is interested in our journey please check out my recently started blog at

    Thanks again for posting info and spreading the word!

  4. Hairy, thanks for stopping by and leaving tracks. I'm always delighted when something I've posted reaches someone. I checked out the Burden of Joy. You've opened yourself wide and I wish you all the best. Glad you got to talk to Dr. Clarren, he impressed me a lot.

    Give Sarah a big hug for me.


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