On move in day of Kathy’s freshman year at college, the older students greeted the newbies with “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Looking back on her life, she realizes that this saying has been a guiding force throughout her life. Originally her plans were to be a social worker, but she realized she could not “save the world,” and that becoming a therapist would an effective way for her to help people. She went on to become a counseling psychologist, primarily working with university students, those with eating disorders, and supervising and teaching graduate students. After having made the decision to stay at home with her then 14-year-old daughter who had a tumultuous move to North Carolina, Kathy founded the Triangle Area Support Group for Parents of those with a diagnosed or suspected FASD in 2008. She realized how isolating life could be when no one seemed to understand much about FASD, to say nothing about what living with someone with an FASD demanded. She started her journey of intense studying about FASD by attending the international conferences in Vancouver and reading. She then provided training workshops about FASD for mental health professionals, social workers, and parents, as well as serving as a consultant to families and others. In 2018, she co-founded the non-profit to propel North Carolinians to become truly FASD Informed.
Terry is the biological mom of 2 and the adoptive mom of 1. Prior to the adoption of her son, Terry was a registered nurse for 25 years specializing in critical and coronary care. Upon adopting their son from Russia, Terry and her husband decided that she would stay home and care for him. Knowing the possibility of fetal alcohol exposure in children, they worked with an international adoption specialist to evaluate their son’s medical record. The specialist felt like he would thrive given proper nutrition and support from his parents. They have tried to be proactive parents, acquiring multiple evaluations and therapies through the years. They are happy to report that despite the challenges, their son will be graduating from high school this year and plans on attending college in the fall. They credit the support and interventions he has received and his determination to be independent for his success.
Terry joined the board because of help and information she received from others also on this board. She is passionate about helping inform practitioners, educators, families, and lawmakers about FASD. She desires change, so that getting the proper diagnosis and services isn’t so difficult for families navigating the challenges of FASD. Knowing that in the United States, the prevalence of FASD is 1 in 20, that change is now more important than ever.
Ally is a mom with the lived experience of having used alcohol during pregnancy. Concerned about having drank before realizing she was pregnant, Ally discussed the issue with a number of doctors, but was repeatedly told there was nothing to worry about. It quickly became clear that most of the messaging around drinking in pregnancy and FASD focuses on prevention – when the drinking has already occurred, nobody wants to talk about it. By sharing her story and through her work with NCFASD Informed, Ally hopes to shine a bright light on this issue and tackle the stigma surrounding it. She is passionate about providing medical professionals, educators, and other stakeholders with resources and information about FASD in order to build a supportive community for individuals with FASD and their families.
Ally lives in Raleigh with her husband and their identical twin daughters. She holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and has worked as a grant writer in the public health space for nearly 14 years. In her spare time, Ally enjoys traveling and trying new restaurants.
Lisa is a mom to two children, a 39 year-old biological son and a 16 year-old adopted daughter, and has been married for 44 years. Lisa and her family live in northwestern North Carolina. Lisa retired in 2019 after having worked for a local community college for over 29 years. For the last nine years, Lisa served as Director of Payroll for the college and Comptroller of a nonprofit affiliated with the college.
Lisa’s FASD journey started in 2019 when FASD was brought to her attention by a psychiatrist. When she started her research, she discovered that many of the FASD symptoms were being exhibited by her then 12 year-old daughter. She spent countless hours researching…trying to find answers. She also experienced great anxiety for what the future might hold for her daughter and family because FASD knowledge is greatly lacking by professionals. After educating herself on the best way to parent her daughter’s brain, enrolling in an FASD coaching program and finding an amazing online FASD support group, Lisa is now hopeful for the future of her daughter and family. Supporting and advocating for her daughter’s needs has been one of the hardest things that she has done, but also one of the most rewarding.
Lisa wants others to know that having an FASD diagnosis is nothing to be ashamed of. With the statistics in the USA being that 1 in 20 people may have FASD, it is likely that we all know someone with the disorder but they may be either misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Lisa’s hope is that the world — especially the USA and specifically North Carolina — will become more informed about FASD which will greatly enrich the lives of those living with FASD as well as their families and caregivers.
Becky is a mom to 5 children, some by birth and others by adoption. She and her wife became fully immersed in the FASD life by accident when their youngest child was placed with them in 2009. The family quickly realized that there was more going on than developmental delay and the quest for answers began. After he was diagnosed with FAS two years later, at age six, Becky began training and advocating in earnest.
Becky spent many years as an educator in community-based early intervention settings, special education classrooms, and the family homeschool prior to landing in her current role serving adults as a psychiatric registered nurse. She believes that it is her responsibility and great privilege to walk alongside folks during some of their hardest times and remains convinced that supporting one another can help us all to thrive.
Alison is a developmental psychologist and Research Scientist and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents and their families. As part of her work as a Research Scientist, Alison has become knowledgeable in the available resources and interventions for youth with FASD and their families. She led the development and evaluation of an online mindfulness-based program for adolescents with FASD, which included feedback from adolescents with FASD as part of the development of the program. Alison has been a practitioner of mindfulness for the past 14 years and strongly believes in the benefits of mindfulness practice for children, adolescents, and adults. Alison was fortunate to be a member of the FASD Collaborative of North Carolina during its tenure and met many parent advocates and professionals all committed to raising awareness about FASD and supporting individuals with FASD and their families. She joined the intervention subcommittee as part of the Collaborative in order to assist with identifying resources and interventions for children and adolescents with FASD. As part of NCFASD Informed, Alison hopes to continue advocating for access to more services and resources for individuals with FASD as well as to increase awareness and understanding of FASD by educating others through webinars and trainings across the state.
Linda Caputo McAndrew was a health education teacher in Rochester, NY for 38 years. She obtained a Master’s Degree in Education from SUNY College at Brockport. Her experience also includes working with people who struggle with addiction and assisting them in achieving realistic goals for themselves in recovery. Linda’s responsibility as a health educator was to provide life skills, prevention, and intervention education and activities to help students become healthier, more responsible adults. She also collaborated with school staff, administrators and community/family members to better meet the needs of her students and advocate for their well-being.
Linda and her husband proudly adopted their grandson in February 2020 after he was removed from his parents at 15 months of age due to alcohol addiction and violence in the home. Within two months of being in the custody of the McAndrews, he was diagnosed with FAS by The Kirsch Center in Rochester, NY.
In 2020, Linda and her family moved from Rochester to North Carolina. They felt that it was imperative for their grandson to be surrounded by his extended family. Linda has always believed that as long as you have something to look forward to every day when you wake up, have love and the ability to love, and a purpose, you are guaranteed to have an incredible life. Her grandson has provided that for her and her husband in their retirement. Because of early intervention services, their grandson has exceeded expectations and continues to thrive in his life today. At 7, he has certainly brought tremendous joy and love into their lives.
Susan is the adoptive mom of two children. Her son, the youngest of her two children, has low vision and FASD. Susan’s FASD journey started with her determination to find help and support for her son. Seeing first-hand the lack of resources, professional knowledge and support for FASD, Susan became an ardent advocate for her son and the FASD Community, at large. She dreams of a world where all people, including those with invisible disabilities, are accepted and admired for their strengths and contributions. Through her participation on the NCFASD Informed Board of Directors, Susan desires to help build a community that will drive a movement of change for all who are living with FASD. Prior to becoming a mom, Susan received her MBA from Drexel University and worked in Marketing and Communications. In her spare time, Susan is a clean beauty consultant with Beautycounter and enjoys playing tennis, practicing yoga and traveling.