Northwest Territories is Improving Supports for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Autism

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Congratulations to the Northwest Territories for their commitment to advancing FASD and autism services! On March 7, 2018, Minister of Health and Social Services, Glen Abernethy, spoke in legislature about the concrete steps the NWT is taking to enhance its services for those with disabilities. CanFASD Board Chair, Tim Moorhouse, was in the legislature when this announcement was made and he was also acknowledged. Find the full announcement here. Below are some of the highlights from the announcement:

1.Financial commitment:

“We heard from the NWT Disabilities Council, the Yellowknife Association for Community Living and the NWT Autism Society of the need for more support and to improve existing programs. This is why we proposed $848 thousand dollars in the 2018-2019 budget that will be used to enhance services for autism and FASD.”

2. Additions to children’s programming:

“Those enhancements will include a child development team coordinator in the Beaufort Delta Region as well as speech language pathology and occupational therapy autism coordinators for the Child Development Team at Stanton Territorial Hospital. It will also provide funding to establish and enhance the existing Territorial FASD Community and Family Support Program.”

3. Creation of an assessment and support program for adults:

“The department will also be working with Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority towards establishing a territorial FASD assessment and support program for adults, as this is something that does not currently exist in the territory.  This funding will allow the addition of an Adult FASD Assessment Team Coordinator.”

4. Participation in the national FASD database:

“The Department of Health and Social Services also contributes to a national FASD database. This database, the first of its kind in the world, gathers detailed information about FASD assessments from across the country. This national database makes it possible for practitioners to better communicate and collaborate when it comes to different FASD assessment programs.”

5. Lead jurisdiction in the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership:

“This year the Government of the Northwest Territories is the lead jurisdiction of the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership, which contributes funding to the CanFASD Research Network. This network produces and sustains national collaborative research related to FASD.  The partnership recently approved an FASD language guide that outlines common but unproductive language that is often used when speaking about FASD. The guide presents alternative, more respectful language and the rationale for its use.”

You might also be interested in the NWT Disability Strategic Framework: 2017 to 2027. Thank you NWT for taking steps to improve care for people with FASD!



Hello! I’m Dr. Marnie Makela and I’m one of the voices behind the CanFASD blog. I’m also a researcher with CanFASD and a Registered Psychologist in Edmonton, AB. I received my PhD in School and Clinical Child Psychology from the University of Alberta.  I work with individuals with FASD and other complex disabilities, their families, and their service providers to complete assessments and develop effective intervention plans that will create meaningful and positive life experiences. 

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