CMM’s new Coordinator for FASD, Jyllian Cress. Photo by Mise’l John Prosper

Jyllian has recently taken up the position of Mainland Mi’kmaq Community Coordinator – FASD project with The CMM. As the Mainland Mi’kmaq Community Coordinator Jyllian will work with the eight Mainland Mi’kmaq communities to establish formal screening, identification, and referral processes for children birth to six with suspected neurological conditions, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and probable FASD. She will work with both community members and external organizations and systems to develop comprehensive systems of support for people with neurodevelopmental conditions, including FASD. A focus of her work will be to get Early Intervention services integrated into First Nations communities she works with.

Jyllian’s work as an Early Interventionist fulfills a lifelong passion to work with people with special needs and started with having a sister, Sara, who has developmental delays. Growing up with Sara and meeting other people through her helped to develop her passion and take on an advocacy role that now applies to all individuals with special needs. Studies have shown that siblings of special needs almost always go into the helping profession, which is a point she likes to share with parents who are concerned about the amount of time they get to spend with their typically developing child. Areas that Jyllian feels especially passionate about are insuring Inclusion for children with special needs, Early Intervention and Respite for families with children with special needs.

Jyllian graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies. She also received a diploma in Human Services in the Child and Youth Concentration from the NSCC in Truro. Upon graduation from the Mount, Jyllian started a job as an Early Childhood Interventionist in Antigonish providing early intervention services for children and their families in Antigonish and Guysborough Counties. Jyllian has also worked in summer camps, group homes and daycares with children and adults with special needs.

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