Natascha Lawrence, M.A., R.C.C., is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Play Therapist specializing in the mental health and addiction treatment of children, youth and adults affected by trauma and /or FASD. She has her masters in counselling psychology and over 10 years experience working with individuals and their families. Natascha has experience working with clients across different modalities including inpatient child/adolescent psychiatry, child and youth mental health, elementary schools and addictions treatment programs. She has also previously worked at the Asante Centre, which provides diagnostic services for individuals suspected of having FASD, ASD, and other brain based disabilities. More importantly, she is a caregiver to an amazing child diagnosed with FASD.

Planning Committee: FASD in the DTES: Skills, Strategies, and Support Conference, Vancouver, October 15, 2015

Speaker: FASD in the DTES, Skills, Strategies, and Support Conference, Vancouver, October 15, 2015

Local Planning Committee, The 7th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Integrating Research, Policy and Promising Practices from around the World, March 1-4, 2017

Counsellor Café – West Vancouver
Mental Health Treatment for Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD):
What Works and What Does Not Work
October 11, 2017 – West Vancouver, BC

This workshop gave an overview of FASD, what is important for clinicians and families to know and how to work with these clients in mental health treatment.

November 10 2017 BCPTA Play Cafe Vancouver, BC – FASD in the Playroom

In this workshop myths and misconceptions about FASD was addressed. Though outcomes for individuals with FASD can be poor, research has indicated that play therapy and expressive arts can improve emotional regulation, relaxation skills , interpersonal communication, self-esteem and memory functioning for children, youth, adults and their families affected by FASD. This presentation gave an overview of FASD, what is important for play therapists to know and how to work with these clients in the playroom.

Why provide mental health and addictions treatment specific to those affected by FASD

As a result of many factors including central nervous system damage, maladaptive behaviours, poor adaptive functioning, and environmental factors such as trauma, individuals with FASD are often diagnosed with additional mental health and addictions issues. Some studies have suggested at rates as high as 80-90%.  I have worked in various mental health, addictions, and educational settings. In each of these settings I became very disheartened at how few professionals (from Heath Care Workers to Physicians) had a clear understanding of the needs of the individuals with FASD they were working with. Myths and misconceptions were common, and the outcomes for these individuals were typically poor. As a caregiver to a child with a brain based disability, this was unacceptable. Therefore, I have made it my mission to improve the lives of all those affected by FASD and other developmental disabilities. I know that no matter the diagnosis, everyone can receive the help that will make things better.

What does the logo mean?

The acronym of FASD is still very taboo and carries a lot of stigma.  The motto: Family, Advocacy, Support and Direction aims to break down some of those walls, and speaks to what I hope to provide each and every family I work with.  The logo represents my family. The Golden Fish is a traditional Chinese symbol that represents abundance, harmony and balance.  This symbol is designed using colours representative of the west coast, and honouring traditional Coast Salish art.