What you need to know
It is important to have HIGH LEARNING EXPECTATIONS for children who have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Encourage use of the core educational curriculum and modify it in order to meet the individual needs of the child.
Children with FASD usually show some degree of language disability or delayed language development. They often have significant problems in communicating regardless of whether or not their general development is delayed. This difficulty with language affects social communication and academic learning.
Students with FASDs may have trouble understanding higher order language and have difficulty conveying their message. Many times, children with FASDs have a hard time differentiating between talking and communicating.
Individuals with FASDs may have many learning challenges.
- They often have higher rates of learning disabilities and problematic classroom behaviors.
- Some individuals with FASDs have low IQ (intellectual disability), but many individuals will have normal or above average IQs.
- An individual’s challenges are often more severe than what would be predicted by their cognitive abilities.
- They often have better performance in reading and language, and poorer ability in math.
Individuals with FASDs often have strengths which can help them overcome their challenges.
- It is important to remember that not every individual with FASDs will have the same strengths and weaknesses. The effects are very individualized and specific to each person.
What you can do
Tips for working with children with FASD
- Offer clear, concise, and simple directions
- Modify assignments as needed
- Break down assignments into small pieces
- Use repetition, practice
- Use literal terms and be concrete
- Directly teach figurative language. High exposure to this type of language can improve understanding
- Be consistent
- Transitions are hard. Use cues!
- Simple environment with few distractions (1:1 or small groups)
- Be specific and give directions step by step
- Supervise. Individuals can be naïve, gullible, and lack social skills
- Learn how to tell when child is getting frustrated
- Often lack ability to make logical decision
- Must be taught how to make reasonable choices and be given opportunities to practice
- Work on cognitive therapy around executive functioning (planning/organizing/completing) can help students stay on task and focused on the goal at hand
- Keep family and school routines as consistent as possible
- If the routine or schedule changes, remind the child about changes
- See "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Educational Strategies", from Emory University.
- You may want additional information about your child’s disability, early intervention, school services, therapy, local policies, transportation, and much more. Every state in the USA has at least one Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) to offer families just this kind of information. To find your state’s center, go to the Center for Parent Information and Resources.