Post-webinar info and recordings 2022


On this tab you'll find post-webinar information including recordings (where possible) and feedback responses from our 2022 programme of FASD-informed webinars.


Click on the headlines below to jump to post-webinar info.

Focus on Justice - FASD in Youth Court 

Cristina Fon - How to understand and respond to challenging behaviour while keeping your cool

FASD at School – What works for students



Focus on Justice: FASD in Youth Court – 13 June 2022

Click on the Play button below to start the recording.

There is a well-documented over-representation of rangatahi with FASD within our courts and prisons – some studies in Canada and Australia have shown that the figure may be well over 30% and it will be similar here, if not worse.

A combination of issues including impulsivity, eagerness to please, lack of judgement and recklessness, difficulties with language and communication can all contribute to teens and young adults with FASD getting into trouble. Once involved in the justice system, there are high risks to effective participation for those with FASD. Equipping those in the justice sector to understand and support neurodiversity is required.

There is a new shift in NZ Youth Court which has seen a pilot scheme at the Porirua Youth Court running since 2020. This programme, which is about ensuring young people with neurodiversities who find themselves in court know what's going on and if necessary have a communication assistant. There's more information about the pilot scheme here

Resources from the webinar

The Talking Trouble website has many great resources for both the justice sector and caregivers, whānau and individuals with FASD. Sally Kedge has kindly allowed us to pass on her slides, and also mentioned some other specific resources in the webinar.

• To check out Sally's slides from the webinar, click here.

• The Youth Voices report, animation and 'Communication Postcards' 

These resources are the result of a research study done in 2017 which 'gave young people the opportunity to tell us about their experiences of communication within the youth justice sector in New Zealand. They were encouraged to say what they think the youth justice workforce can do differently to make it easier for young people to participate in all the conversations and processes involved.' There is a report, an animation created by students at the NZ Animation College, and a set of cards which are helpful for justice workers to think about how they are interacting with a young person who may have communication difficulties. 

• A report for Kingslea School after interviewing rangatahi at a youth justice residence.

• A report on the language of Protection Orders: hearing people’s experiences of the communication involved in protection orders.

Resources on our website

• Click here for professional justice resources

• Click here for caregiver and whānau justice resources


Judge Tony Fitzgerald

Our host for this webinar, FASD-CAN patron Judge Fitzgerald, has been a District Court Judge for 22 years and spends about half his time in the Youth Court. Judge Fitzgerald has spoken on justice issues around FASD both here and overseas many times. 

Kesia Sherwood

After completing a law degree at Otago University, Kesia went straight into postgraduate study. Her PhD thesis focused on young people with FASD and New Zealand's youth justice system (read Kesia's thesis abstract here). Since completing her PhD she has been working as a defence lawyer for the Public Defence Service in Wellington. She’s in the Porirua team and the majority of her court work is in Porirua, with a substantial amount in the Young Adult List on Friday mornings. She has two young children who keep her busy on the days that she is not working.

Sally Kedge

Sally is a speech-language therapist and court-appointed Communication Assistant. She is the Director of a social enterprise, Talking Trouble Aotearoa NZ, which is concerned with addressing the speech, language and communication needs of people involved with justice, care and protection, mental health and behaviour services. Her work as a Communication Assistant has involved many people with FASD and she has assisted in trials in the Youth, District and High Court and in other settings like Police interviews, Parole Board and Family Group Conferences. Sally has worked in the UK and New Zealand as a speech-language therapist for 24 years, has been involved in research and clinical education at The University of Auckland and is an Honorary Academic there. She is an Expert Advisor to the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists' Association and in 2022 she will be one of twenty inaugural international Fellows at the Fair Access to Justice Hub Institute.



Cristina Fon: "Why can't you just be good!" - 28 May 2022


Resources from the webinar

Although her webinar was not recorded, Cristina has kindly given us a list of her favourite FASD resources below.

Ministry of Education: Te Kete Ipurangi, strategy and education guides

Understanding FASD: A Comprehensive Guide for Pre-K-8 Educators, Duke University, North Carolina

Edmonton FASD Network – Strategies Not Solutions Handbook

The 5-Point Scale

The ALERT programme (how is your engine running?)

Andrew Huberman – the physiological sigh: breathing to relax (video)

Eileen Devine: The Neurological Model


Parenting with Positive Behaviour Support: A Parent's Guide to Problem-solving Solutions for Difficult Behaviour

Dianne Malbin: Trying Differently Rather Than Harder: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Feedback from participants

"More understanding of the challenges of those with FASD and their caregivers. The need for caregivers' skills, patience and empathy for the long haul."

"That FASD is a brain injury. Learn patience and understanding; that my response to him is a cry for help to me; that there are resources out there to use; that I can ask for better help for my child. That I'm actually doing ok!""

"Some new ideas to use in our situation."

"Information. Strategies that go across neuro-diversity and not only relevant to those living with FASD; some parenting skills."

About Cristina Fon

From an interest that began over 20 years ago, Cristina has focused on developing competence in FASD over the last six years, undertaking further academic study, supervised practice and completing trainings in the assessment and interventions with FASD.

This has taken her to an online individualised training in the neuro-behavioral brain-based approach to intervention run by Diane Malbin’s organisation FASCETS Portland Oregon, and an in-person, week long intensive training with the Families Moving Forward programme run by Dr Heather Carmichael Olson from the University of Washington, Seattle. Cristina has also completed the FASD training offered by Queensland Health.

Realising that there was a central role for psychology in driving best practice and knowledge of FASD in New Zealand at this critical time, Cristina embarked on delivering a series of workshops to colleagues, whānau and professionals (lawyers, youth workers, alt ed, social workers). She also works with whānau who have children with FASD, and draws together her knowledge from her trainings as well as from her experience of working with challenging behaviour across a range of settings.

Cristina is the current Chairperson of the Nelson FASD Charity and works from Psychology Associates, based in Nelson.



FASD at School: What works for students – 9 May 2022

In this webinar we heard from caregivers and educators with experience supporting tamariki affected by FASD as they progress through the school system here in Aotearoa / New Zealand. 

Click on the Play button below to start the recording.

Resources from the webinar

• We heard from families who would love to have support when working with teachers at their schools. Both Karen (in Auckland) and Tracey (Upper and Lower Hutt) are happy to be contacted in this regard via email below. 

Call Karen on 027 487 8290  |  Email Tracey here

ORS funding information can be found here

Police funding information – this is specifically for children who have experienced family violence. Click here for details. 

• Information about local kanohi ki te kanohi / face to face support groups can be found on our website here – if there is not one in your area, please email us and let us know, we may be able to help as we are looking at setting up more.

Further education resources on our website

• If you're a caregiver, click here for more information on advocating for your child at school.

• If you're a professional educator, click here for strategies on helping students with FASD achieve their best.

• Please note: teachers and support staff can look forward to a new Desktop Resource full of FASD-informed material relating to education in Aotearoa that will be shared here in July. 

Feedback from you

"Useful information on how to approach schools – there are lots of others who are experiencing similar issues and we’re not alone. There’s support out there!"

"Valuable sharing of personal experiences and reassurance of how important the willingness of the whole school is to encompass this learning."

"Great techniques to support rangatahi with FASD to feel empowered and included at school. Awesome kete of approaches to set the rangatahi up for success."


Tracey Blunn joined us from the Wellington region to share the actions that worked for her family when navigating the schooling system with her son David. Karen Irving shared both her personal and professional experience of schools having worked in schools with high-needs students for many years before becoming a caregiver to three foster children with FASD. She now works in schools as an independent advocate, developing plans to keep students with FASD in school. And finally, Kiri Key joined us from Tāmaki Makaurau to provide some insight into what works in schools for tamariki Māori experiencing neurodiversity. Her holistic approach is based on both her personal experience and her years as a teacher. 

Our thanks to these three wāhine toa for giving their time and sharing their wisdom.