NEO Kids Expands FASD Clinic

SUDBURY, ON –  The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Clinic at NEO Kids is expanding,  thanks to new Canadian diagnostic guidelines.

The FASD Clinic at NEO Kids is now accepting referrals for children under the age of six. Previously, the clinic dealt with children between the ages of 6 and 18.

The new Canadian guidelines use a series of indicators to determine if a child under the age of six has impairments that suggest he/she is At Risk of having FASD, even though a diagnosis may not be confirmed because of the child’s young age.

“The new diagnostic guidelines are extremely important as they make it possible to identify at an earlier age children with FASD and those At Risk of FASD.  Children designated At Risk are to receive the same services and interventions as children with a confirmed diagnosis of FASD. We know that early intevention and support leads to better outcomes in life.  So the earlier the child is diagnosed or identified as At Risk, the better,” says Kelly Oreskovich, Social Worker with the FASD Clinic at NEO Kids.

“The FASD clinic proved to be a very positive experience for my son and our family,” says Brigitte Julien, the mother of two adopted sons.  “The team was incredibly supportive; Kelly in particular made the entire process very positive and transparent. Having the opportunity to have a FASD assessment completed on both my adopted sons (age 8 and 9) was a process that proved very important to all of our family. Our 9 year old son was officially diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in March of 2016.  Although this news was heart wrenching to receive, having had the opportunity to sit and talk with the team about his prognosis, and next steps was very helpful and necessary in the process.”

The FASD Clinic at NEO Kids opened in 2011, and was a partnership between HSN, the Anishinabek Nation, Mamaweswen North Shore Tribal Council, the Shkagamik-kwe Health Centre (Greater Sudbury), and the Noojmowin Teg Health Centre (Manitoulin Island).

“This collaborative effort in developing the FASD Clinic has meant that families living with FASD can access an assessment closer to home and with community supports,” adds Carol Ann Cheechoo, Director of Community Programs with Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre. “The opportunity for assessment and diagnosis of FASD at earlier ages provides for more community resources to be identified to support the families earlier.”

In the past 5 years, the FASD Clinic has assessed 180 children from across northeastern Ontario. So far in 2016, the number of referrals to the FASD Clinic is equal to the referrals in all of 2015.

“The expansion of the FASD Clinic again demonstrates the need for NEO Kids, and it certainly validates our advocacy for the NEO Kids capital project and the NE LHIN’s decision to support the project, “says Dr. Denis Roy, HSN’s President and CEO. “We look forward to working with partners like the NE LHIN and the NEO Kids Foundation to bring this proposal before the provincial government because the need for specialized children’s health care in the north is growing by the day.”

The FASD Clinic at NEO Kids accepts referrals from the general public.

To refer a child for FASD assessment contact NEO Kids at 705-523-7120 ext. 1073 or

Video Clip with Kelly Oreskovich (Eng.)