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The FASD Elephant™: Understanding
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

A Wish for Fetal Alcohol: It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change! ~ Alice In Wonderland (1951 movie)

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change!
~ Alice in Wonderland
(and—with apologies to Lewis Carroll—many FASD Caregivers)

Welcome to The FASD Elephant™ website!

This website helps caregivers and professionals understand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) differently. Look at it from a different perspective, and you’ll create practical, new interventions that work better.

If you’re new to FASD, check out the Beginner’s Guide to FASD page. It’s still developing, but it has some basic definitions and a couple short videos about FASD.

Whether you’re new to FASD or know it well, it is always a challenge, and there’s something in this website for every level to help make more sense of prenatal fetal alcohol exposure.

Making Sense of FASDs

As a psychologist, I’ve seen families who make it work, and I’ve seen heart-wrenching fails: forced foster care, residential placements and treatments, running away, failed adoptions, suicide attempts, and incarcerations.

As a foster parent, I’ve felt personal success and failure, too. I understand how sadness, worry, embarrassment, anger and confusion affect you. I know you can’t do it alone. I know you need support. And I know it helps to understand what is going on—as crazy as it may feel in the moment!

We can all learn from each other, quit trying the same bad strategies over and over, and find the information we need: Together, in an honest, practical, and constructive way, you (and your FASD team) can move mountains—even if it’s one stone at a time.

A Fetal Alcohol Point of View: FASD Informed Care

Metaphors are so important in understanding why we approach things the way we do. This was what started the FASD Elephant™—helping people think differently about FASD to make better interventions, solutions, and ways of coping. Here’s a short video explaining the FASD Elephant™ metaphor:

What Can I Do on This Website?

For January 2015, there are four primary ways to use this website, which are described below.

Podcast & Blog

Two to three times per month, I write a blog post on something related to FASD. It might be from a professional experience as a child psychologist or from a personal experience as a caregiver. These are usually announced on the FASD Elephant Facebook page, and I welcome comments, feedback and sharing of any blog posts. There are “share” buttons on each page of the website that are tied to the individual page.

Also, I record a podcast about once per month and post it the blogs. A podcast is simply an audio recording that you can listen to right from the website, from your smartphone or tablet, or from your iPod or mp3 player. There are also “show notes,” which are quick summaries of what was discussed in each podcast.

Ira Glass, from the NPR shows Serial and This American Life (two very popular podcasts), and his friend Mary explain how to listen to a podcast in this video:

Beginner’s Guide

There is a brief introduction to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), including a video by my pal Morgan Fawcett, who lives on the Spectrum and describes it so well.

There are also a couple of products I use and trust under this heading. You can check them out, ask me questions about them, and if you buy any of them, I do get a small commission, which helps pay for the costs to host this website.

About Michael

This section is where I share a bit about myself, but also the workshops, presentations, and trainings I provide. I am also developing several products, including an online video training course for foster parents, a curriculum to support FASD-informed care for parents (called Praise for Change), and an FASD Survival Guide book.

You can also sign up for my monthly emailed newsletter and find links to back issues in this section. (There is also a place at the top of the website to sign up for the newsletter. If you do sign up, you can get a free gift that previews the Praise for Change curriculum.)


There is a contact form at the bottom of each page, there is a contact page in this section from the menu, and there is also a SpeakPipe link where you can leave a 90 second voicemail for me. (I’m testing this service out to see how it goes, btw.)

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