FASD-CAN Navigators

The FASD-CAN Navigator role was first created in mid-2021. It was a pilot role for a year, but our Board soon realised it was filling a desperately-needed hole in support services for those living with FASD.

Each Navigator is required to:

  • Establish a face-to-face whānau, parents/caregivers support group or support an existing one in the region
  • Provide advocacy and support for whānau, parents and caregivers
  • Provide education to families, parents and caregivers, as well as service providers
  • Network with the disability sector to raise awareness of FASD
  • Develop a regional resource of FASD-informed providers
  • Build relationships with professionals and service providers across sectors.

But there's a lot more to it than that.

Our Navigators all have lived experience and know very well that raising an individual with FASD (or possible FASD) is very challenging – both on a day-to-day basis and in the bigger picture due to it not being a funded disability, as well as society's misconceptions of 'bad behaviour' or 'bad parenting' which can lead to stigma.

Being a Navigator can become a very personal role, with our Navigators being called in quite often when whānau are in crisis and need urgent support and information. The tautoko/support our Navigators give is respectfully and empathetically whānau-led – they hold hope and awhi for whānau living with FASD when they are really struggling.

Here is a quote from a participant involved with a Navigator session: 

"After seeing the Navigator I now have skills that I can use and it has benefited the whole family. It has changed our lives as previously I was really angry but now with understanding their brain - I'm not. Previously I couldn't understand why the usual approaches wouldn't work."

They interact with frontline professionals too, training and spreading awareness among health professionals, kaiako / educators, support workers, justice professionals and even corporations. 

We've long dreamed of having our Navigators all over the motu. Our whānau need them, but we need funding to enable them. If you would like to donate to help us train more FASD-CAN Navigators, by all means do so here!

Find out more below. 

Anna Gundesen – Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland

Anna is our very first Navigator, with the Auckland region to look after. Anna has specialised education around FASD and brings lived experience to her role. There's an article on her path to the first Navigator role here.

You can read more about Anna's background and find her email details here or call her on 021 810 965.

RuruHana Brownie – Te Tai Tokerau / Northland

RuruHana has a long career in supporting whānau who are doing it tough. Since mid-2022 she has been facilitating our ‘Life with FASD’ caregiver trainings alongside Anna Gundesen, our Navigator in Tāmaki Makaurau. RuruHana’s wonderful empathy and experience working with whānau has been a lifeline for many. There's an article on how she came to the role here

You can read more about RuruHana's background and find her contact details here.