One year into a global pandemic, parents of children who have developmental disabilities may be feeling especially burnt out. During this series of 30-45 minute videos, parents will learn several approaches and strategies aimed at lessening parent stress. In this introductory session, we talk about stress as it pertains specifically to parents of children with Down syndrome, and why it is important for parents to prioritize their own mental health.
This video is funded in part by the Government of Canada.
Presenter: Susan Fawcett, PhD, RSLP
Director of Therapy, Behaviour and Family Support, Down Syndrome Resource Foundation
Susan began her career at DSRF as the head Speech-Language Pathologist from 2003 to 2019, and helped develop the therapy, adult, and summer programs during that time. She has been thrilled to watch the therapy and teaching team and programs grow vastly since she started. Getting to know families over a long period of time and having a blast playing with the children she sees are Susan’s favourite aspects of her job. While enjoying a sessional teaching position in the education department at SFU, Susan encouraged the students to be more involved, and several of these students have become DSRF volunteers or staff. Susan has particular interest in the areas of social communication, mental health and problem behaviour in people with Down syndrome, as well as giving families the positive reinforcement they deserve. As part of completing her doctoral degree with Dr. Joe Lucyshyn in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education in 2020, she completed a dissertation project evaluating a preventative parent training program for families of young children with Down syndrome who exhibit mild-to-moderate problem behaviour. During her schooling, Susan also completed a two-year practicum with a clinical psychologist at the Vancouver CBT Centre, where she learned how to provide cognitive-behaviour therapy techniques to adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses such as depression and anxiety.