Book seeks to de-stigmatize FASD

Charlene Trudel, formerly of Quick was inspired to write about FASD success stories

Charlene Trudel’s new book seeks to highlight positive stories from the world of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. (Submitted photo)

Charlene Trudel’s new book seeks to highlight positive stories from the world of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. (Submitted photo)

A new book by a former Quick resident is shining a more positive light on the trauma of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

“I was doing my criminal justice studies degree… and we had to do abnormal psychology and abnormal behaviours that are often seen in the court system,” said Charlene Trudel, author of On the Wings of Success: Heartwarming Stories from the World of FASD.

“Nobody chose FASD, and I did know a tiny bit about it, so as I was doing my research I noticed that the information is either really medically-termed or is just a very dim, very dismal, very bleak outlook for people ever having a good life.

“I just had it pop up in my head that I’m going to write a book about all the successes and the only reason why I know that people can be successful is because I know a girl who has FASD, she’s married and she has a couple of kids.”

Trudel set about collecting the stories, a process that would take her three years.

“There were some people who wanted to [participate] and then ended up backing out because they were so terrified somebody would recognize they’re not normal,” the author said.

“My message with this book is to spread the positivity and lessen the stigma that surrounds FASD.

There’s still very little known about it, there’s not a lot of people who talk about it outside the justice system.”

Although not a victim of FASD herself, there is a personal connection. Trudel is a member of the Kaska First Nation, but was adopted at an early age.

“In northern communities it’s much more common,” she said. “I did grow up knowing about it, I always grew up knowing about the dangers of alcoholism.

“My parents were both alcoholics and addicts. Being adopted, I grew up in a white Christian family and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I had the best upbringing, I had every experience that a kid could ever want and grew up just appreciating nature and the outdoors, it was good.

“I was very fortunate to be adopted because otherwise I’m pretty sure I would have continued the generational trauma.”

In doing her research, she found at least one big surprise.

“It’s how under-diagnosed it is,” she said. “I talked to some doctors and some specialists here who I connected with and they say it is probably one of the top under-diagnosed disabilities. It often gets mistaken for ADHD because it has similar symptoms in that spectrum and it’s just one of those things that you need to continuously educate young women and young parents about. It’s just one of those things that’s not well-known, or innately known.”

But she found the interaction with her subjects was very fulfilling.

“I’m very inspired by these people who just have such an amazing spirit,” she said.

“They’ve all overcome so many obstacles. Many of them went through the justice system, but it’s just the way that they function, that they can’t foresee the outcome, but there’s some stories in there and some people that went through stuff that probably some “normal” people wouldn’t be able to handle.

“Their hope and their optimism and their persistence to not give in is probably stronger than most.”

And the book is selling well, she said.

“It’s actually doing a lot better than I thought it was going to, I kind of wrote it just because I could, not to make money or anything, I just wanted to put it out there and it’s becoming a very good resource for some people.

“I wanted to share these stories for educational purposes, but also just to share their achievements.”

In fact, she is now collecting stories for a second volume.

Now living in Calgary, Trudel has been away from the Bulkley Valley since 1997, but sometimes longs for the north.

“Being a small town girl, sometimes you really miss it,” she said. “I often think about how lucky I was growing up in B.C. because you could just take a walk and you’re one with nature. Here you have to drive about 45 minutes, then you’re one with nature, but Calgary has been pretty good to me.”



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Terrace River Kings lost 9-3 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
Regional district frustrated with CN response to grievances

‘A lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’: Houston mayor Shane Brienen

Ski hill scheduled to open Dec. 4

Hudson Bay Mountain Resort will open without its usual contingent of international workers

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP were requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
UPDATE: missing woman found safe at residence

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix.”
Free ‘Hollywood Suite’ movies in December include ‘Keanussance’ titles starring Keanu Reeves

Also featured is the Israeli-made ‘Valley of Tears,’ a 10-part war drama

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

Most Read