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FASD and Education An Ontario Perspective


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Title: FASD and Education An Ontario Perspective

FASD and Education An Ontario Perspective
  • FASEout Presentations
  • February 17, 2006 - Ottawa
  • Mary K. Cunningham B.Ed. P.H.Ec.

  • Mary Cunningham is a parent of a young adult with
    ARND. She has been learning about FASD from her
    daughter and her students since 1998.
  • Diane Malbin, (Oregon) Donna Debolt (Lethbridge),
    Chris Margetson (Guelph), Bonnie Buxton (FASworld
    Toronto), Cheryl Duquette (Ottawa), Laura
  • Alberta Government Education ministry

Presenter Information
  • Parenting consultant and FASD advocate
  • Retired from 30 years in education system as a
    teacher, department head and consultant
  • Has two young adult children, one with ARND
  • Is married to another retired educator
  • Co-author of Parenting in Canada, 2003
  • Co-founder of ON Coalition for Parenting Ed.
  • Lives in Kitchener, ON cunninghammary_at_rogers.com

FASD and Education An Ontario Perspective
  • 1-Educational Success for
  • Students Affected by FASD
  • 2-Advocating Successfully
  • within the School System

Educational Success for Students with FASD
  • 1- Introduction
  • 2- FASD 101 for Educators
  • 3- What FASD Looks Like at School
  • 4- Brain Damage Behaviour
  • 5- How Secondary Effects Develop
  • 6- Success for Students with FASD

FASD is an umbrella term for
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) (obvious to all)
  • Partial Fetal Alcohol
  • Syndrome (pFAS)
  • Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental
  • Disorder (ARND)
  • ARBD, Static Encephalopathy

FASD and Education?Have I seen FASD yet?
Alcohol Use In Pregnancy
  • 50 of pregnancies are unplanned
  • 17 to 25 of women reported drinking alcohol
    during their last pregnancy
  • 7 to 9 reported drinking alcohol throughout
    their last pregnancy
  • Canadian National Survey

What about Dad?
  • A fathers drinking does not cause FASDBUT
  • Drinking and drug use can damage sperm causing
    subtle neurological damage such as
    impulsivity,learning disabilities, attentional
    problems (lower birth weight)
  • When a father drinks he influences the mothers

Co-occurring Mental Illnesses
  • ADD/ADHD is often diagnosed
  • (Reactive) Attachment Disorder (R-AD)
  • Bi-Polar Disorder/Depression
  • Conduct Disorder (CD)
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • (Kathryn Page 2002- Ctr. For Families, Children

FASD in Education Facts
  • Health Canada notes that 1 of live births are
    FASD-affected. (This is probably low). This means
    at least 300,000 Canadians are living with FASD
  • FASD is one of the most common birth defects in
    North America
  • FASD is the most common cause of developmental
    delay in North America

Most Students with FASD are Invisible
The Usual FASD Story
  • JK/SK unduly quiet or aggressive and unruly
  • May slip through cracks at first
  • Level 2 C evaluations
  • By 4-6 serious learning problems are obvious
    reading, math, science
  • May be a Safe School nightmare with
  • frequent suspensions

The Usual FASD Story
  • By grade 7 or 8 is dropped by achieving friends
    who can see disabilities
  • Picks up with peers with similar problems
  • School skipping, no homework, school failure
  • Petty crime, drugs, alcohol use, early sexual
  • Early school dropout or expulsion first sign of
    marginalized adulthood

If you are an educator
  • You have dealt with students who have FASD
  • You will deal with students who have FASD for the
    rest of your career
  • So, whats to be done?

Reframe The Behaviour

Brain Damage Behaviour Change (Donna Debolt)
FASD Information Processing Disabilities
  • FASD is an extremely serious and debilitating
    information processing learning disability
  • A student could have any or all of these
  • 1.    Input- recording of information from the
  • 2. Integration- process of interpreting the
  • 3. Memory- storage of information for later
  • 4. Output- producing answers, responses,
    completion of work

Two Common Reactions Processing Difficulties
  • 1- Total shut down and turn off
  • May be confused with ADD
  • 2- Hyperactive acting out
  • May be confused with ADHD
  • ADHD is frequently misdiagnosed!

Brain Damage Behaviour
  • Our brain is like a computer CPU and it
    controls our behaviour
  • When the CPU gets the wrong data or processes
    data incorrectly dysfunctional behaviour results
  • A FASD-affected brain will not recover so those
    around it must adapt and serve as
  • external brains

What might an information processing disorder
feel like?
  • Imagine loud music is blaring, the lights are
    buzzing and you are wearing a scratchy wool
    sweater over your bare skin, (Dorothy Shwab,
  • This is how it feels for a student with FASD,
  • Exactly what would you actually learn under these
  • How would you act under these conditions?

Primary Effects a Teacher Might See(A-L-A-R-M)
  • Adaptation - trouble stopping or starting
  • Language - talk a great line, but dont get
    it when people try to talk to them
  • Attention ADD/ADHD frequently misdiagnosed
  • Reasoning dont understand abstract ideas, eg.
  • Memory - sketchy-on and off, has big gaps,
    dont learn from experiencesame mistakes over
    and over

Brain Damage Causes Dysmaturity
  • A confounding but classic sign of FASD
  • Student appears to be functioning at different,
    inconsistent ages, for example
  • Chronologically 18 Socially 12
  • Emotionally 8 Cognitively 9
  • Research is starting to show that individuals
    with FASD tend to get as mature as they are going
    to, or get caught up by age 35, too late for
    the school system, but still a ray of hope for

Dysmaturity Concept Students with FASD
Frequently Show Many Different Ages
Expressiveness (Talking)
Understanding Ideas
Money Time Concepts
Emotional Maturity
Physical Maturity
Reading ability
Social Skills
Living (Life) Skills
How Old He/She MAY act in each skill area
Adapted from research findings of Streissguth,
Clarren et al by D. Malbin 94
Will Students Outgrow FASD?NO
  • They may have life-long problems with
  • - Learning
  • - Remembering
  • - Thinking things through
  • - Getting along with others
  • Brain damage is permanent!

The Worst Case ScenarioSecondary Effects Develop
Students With FASD Often
  • Are bullied and stigmatized
  • Have trouble finding friends
  • Do not achieve at school
  • Disappoint people around them
  • Are disappointed in themselves
  • Develop very poor self esteem

Then FASD creates Secondary Behaviours (Malbin,
  • Primary FASD behaviours are those that most
    clearly reflect underlying damage to brain
    structure and function (slides 29 ff)
  • Secondary FASD behaviours are defensive and
    develop over time in response to a non-supportive
    environment, the individual suffers from a
    chronic inability to fit in

Secondary BehavioursAn Educator Might See at
  • Bullied, Teased
  • Fighting, Outbursts
  • Running away, Avoidance
  • Sexually inappropriate to point of being
  • dangerous
  • Depressed, Suicidal
  • Co-occurring Diagnoses
  • School Failure, Expulsion grade 9/10
  • Inappropriate humour
  • Class clown
  • Isolated, Few friends
  • Pseudo-sophisticated- trying to pass as OK
  • Irritability,Resistance, Fatigue, Arguments
  • Anxious,Fearful,
  • Overwhelmed
  • Poor Self Esteem
  • Unrealistic Goals

Secondary Effects of FASD (1996-Washington State)
  • Alcohol in utero can cause both physical and
    neurological damage to the fetus
  • Neurological (brain) damage is the root of most
    FASD problems faced by schools
  • Brain damage causes very serious learning
    disabilities which lead to primary behaviours
  • If left untreated primary behaviours turn into
    serious secondary behaviours and a marginalized
    adulthood (see Streissguth, 1996)

The Best Case ScenarioSuccess for Students with
Change the Paradigm
  • If they could they would -It is not that
    students with FASD wont, they cant
  • Understanding this will change your attitude and
    they will notice your support Behaviour Brain
  • Diabetics need insulin, paraplegics need wheel
    chairs, students with FASD have permanent brain
    damage and need you to deal with this
    irreversible fact
  • Learn to love the student you got, not the one
    you wanted

There IS a silver lining

Recognize ability not disability!
  • ALL people with FASD excel in some or all of the
    following areas

Multiple Intelligences
  • Howard Gardner is the theorist behind MI, this
    is especially useful for students with FASD
  • Everybody has some of each of the 9 intelligence
  • groups. Find out what you are good at and work
    at getting better. Dont beat yourself up about
    your weaknesses.
  • Multiple Intelligence development is especially
    important for students with FASD. Good for self
    esteem development too
  • Google Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligences

Multiple Intelligences
  • Verbal Interpersonal Visual
  • Kinesthetic - Musical Naturalistic
  • Intrapersonal - Mathematical Existential
  • Every student has some of each. Discover and
    develop your best ones!

Typical Strengths and Abilities
  • Hands on learners
  • Kinesthetic, energetic
  • Learn by doing and repeatedly shown
  • Good long term visual memory
  • Value fairness and
  • can be rigidly moral,
  • comforted by rules
  • and orderliness
  • Express themselves
  • well verbally
  • Good with animals, children, mechanics,
    computers, and the arts
  • Friendly, affectionate,
  • loving, loyal, gentle,
  • determined, sensitive
  • and compassionate

Teaching Students with FASD
  • FASD strategies will not hurt students so when in
    doubt or waiting for diagnosis go ahead and use
    these strategies
  • The ideas in this presentation are an
    introduction only and teachers should be aware
    that an endless repertoire can be developed.
    There is no magic formula.
  • All these Special Education strategies are just
    good teaching. They work for almost any student
    with learning disabilities.

In General
  • Head off trouble, nip escalating stimulus
    overload before the child explodes
  • Provide constant supervision, preventing a crisis
    is easier than cleaning it up
  • These students need external brains
  • All the expectations in curriculum wont be met,
    teach life skills and blend in academics
  • Teaching life skills that others learn by osmosis
    must be multimodal,repeated and compelling

Some Starter Strategies
  • Reduce stimulation, provide quiet places for them
    to de-stress as needed
  • Go slowly-10 s children in a 1 s world
  • Hands on learning, focus on strengths
  • Foster interdependence not independence
  • Repeat, re-teach, repeat, re-teach, repeat
  • Carpe diem- Enjoy today, do a day at a time

More Starter Strategies
  • Do not ask why they dont know
  • If things go wrong try differently, not harder
  • Make transitions as easy as possible
  • Use visuals as often as possible
  • Break everything into steps, do 1 at a time
  • Remember that students with impairments teach
    life lessons to everybody else

External Brains (S. Clarren)
  • Help the child reframe their world
  • Provide crutches for an invisible disability
  • Provide pro-active and intervention strategies
  • Assist the child to process information and to
    respond more appropriately
  • If you are physically disabled you need a
  • If you are blind you need a seeing eye dog.
  • If you are a child with FASD you need an external

People Who Understand
Teaching Students with FASDBuilding Strengths,
Creating Hope
  • The following website is INVALUABLE
  • www.education.gov.ab.ca/k_12/specialneeds/fasd.asp
  • Western Canada is light years ahead of us in
    all aspects of FASD understanding, prevention and
    intervention (education)
  • Do not try to re-invent the wheel, go to the
    above Alberta website for the newest and best
    resource on successful education for students
    with FASD
  • You may print for free 165 pages in length

Teaching Students with FASDBuilding Strengths,
Creating Hope
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 What is FASD?
  • Chapter 2 Key Program Planning Concepts
  • Chapter 3 Positive Classroom Climate
  • Chapter 4 Students Needs
  • Appendices A, B C (excellent resources)
  • Bibliography and Index

  • We will substantially reduce the incidence
  • of FASD in the future.How?
  • By spreading the Zero 4 Nine message

Zero 4 Nine Messages
  • No known amount of alcohol can be consumed safely
    during pregnancy.
  • There is no known safe time to drink alcohol in a
  • A pregnant woman has a choice, her baby does not.
  • A pregnant woman may need help from her spouse
    and peers not to drink.
  • Avoid alcohol when planning a pregnancy or breast

FASD Prevention in Education
  • The place to get the 0 for 9 message out so it
    will stick is to students before can drink
  • OCMPE The Ontario Coalition for Mandatory
    Parenting Education wants all high school
    students take and pass a parenting course before
    graduation FASD messaging will be embedded.
  • Fewer babies in the stream!

For More Information
  • Please feel free to contact the presenter at
  • cunninghammary_at_rogers.com
  • or 519-893-7393 (Kitchener, Ontario)
  • The internet is a valuable source of information,
    search under fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • www.education.gov.ab.ca/k_12/
  • specialneeds/fasd.asp (excellent resource)

The End of Part OneRECESS!
FASD and Education An Ontario Perspective
  • 2-Advocating Successfully
  • within the School System

Successful Advocacy inthe School System
  • 1-Advocacy and Advocates
  • 2-Parent and School Relationships
  • 3-Getting a Diagnosis of FASD
  • 4-FASD Has NO Special Ed category!
  • 5-Emphasize the Positive
  • 6-Strategies for Successful Education

FASD Advocacy?
  • Advocacy is active support especially
  • the act of pleading or arguing for
  • something
  • An advocate is a person who pleads
  • for a cause or promotes ideas
  • Students with FASD need advocacy and
  • advocates to have any success in todays
  • schools

Who Can Advocate for Students?
  • Teachers
  • Parents and/or caregivers
  • Anyone else who works with students in a school
    professionals, paraprofessionals
  • - others working in the school
  • Anyone who understands schools and FASD has the
    potential to be a good advocate for a student
    with FASD

Involve the Whole School
  • Ideally ALL the people who work in
  • a school from the administrators
  • and teaching staff to the custodians,
  • community coaches and lunch room
  • supervisors will understand the
  • realities of FASD and be prepared
  • to recognize and properly support
  • students who may have (or just look
  • like they might have) FASD.

Whole School Efforts
  • FASD 101 professional development
  • for everybody
  • Use of whole school programs like TRIBES
  • With All Due Respect Ronald Morrish (Font Hill,

Involve the Whole Community
  • Establish an FASD Task Force and Support Team at
    the board level
  • Educate all school staff personnel about FASD.
  • Build community awareness about FASD.
  • Be prepared to support parents and teachers
    caring for FASD children.
  • Implement changes in the school environment and
    academic programming
  • Get diagnostic facilities in the community.
  • Refer children for FASD testing.
  • Revisit administrative procedures regarding safe
  • Set up a personal advocate for each child with

A Delicate Balancing Act
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease?
  • OR
  • The squeaky wheel gets changed?
  • One always catches more flies with sugar than
  • Each school will have different limits

Most FASD experts such as Malbin or Debolt
acknowledge that many parents of children with
FASD give the impression of being crazyMost
parents will obsess to get their children served
Parent/School Relationship
  • FASD parents are the ultimate, 24 hour
    front-line workers and desperately need your
  • These parents only appear to be crazy they are
    almost overwhelmed and super stressed
  • Professionals are often tempted to assume that
    (undiagnosed) FASD is the result of ineffective
    parenting and family dysfunction.
  • The family with FASD is often dysfunctional
    because of FASD not the other way around

Duquette et al Research
  • School Experiences of Students with Fetal
    Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Duquette, Cheryll and
    Emma J. Stodel (U of Ottawa) in Exceptionality
    Education Canada, vol 15, 2, 2005, pp.51-75
  • Examined factors leading to persistence in
    school among students with FASD from perspectives
    of the students their parents
  • Relatively small sample (24), all children
  • The high maintenance parent appeared to foster
    success parental advocacy is strongly linked
    with persistence and graduation among students
    with FASD
  • Parents studied FASD then educated teachers

Elements Related to School Success (Duquette et
  • Caring teachers who understood FASD and made
    accomodations led to more success
  • Parents obtained psychological testing and used
    diagnoses to access services and to provide an
    underlying reason for student difficulties
  • Specialized programs and paraprofessionals,
  • when needed, were related to success
  • Most parents advocated strongly and provided
    encouragement at home

Parent Advocates
  • Need to remember that teaching has been
    designated as just slightly less stressful than
    air traffic control the most stressful
    occupation in that study
  • Teachers are responsible for all the students in
    their classes not just your child who may be
    taking a lot more energy than the others

Summer holidays DO NOT make up for 10 months of
extremely stressful teaching. They merely allow
most teachers to continue teaching the next
Educators on the other hand will do well to
remember that every student has parents and/or
caregivers who understand their individual needs
better than anyone else
An involved parent or caregiver for a child with
FASD is generally going to know a lot about FASD
and should be considered as an expert
It should never come to this
Parents, schools fight 1.8 Billion special needs
war Dec. 5/05 (Star) HELEN HENDERSON LIFE
COLUMNIST (THE STAR)   Gordon Martin is 9 years
old. Over the past two years, he has arrived home
from school on several occasions with feces in
his lunch bag and disturbing marks on his skin.
In October, he was expelled for disruptive
behaviour.   His mother has been banned from all
school board properties and accused of uttering
profanities and making false allegations against
staff and students. The Martins moved to a
smaller house, cashed in their retirement savings
and got help from community garage sales to pay
for a specially trained support therapist to help
in class with their son, who is autistic. The
school asked the therapist to stay out of the
classroom.   Gordon's mother says his behaviour
at school X School in X was a response to how
he was treated there. The school calls her
complaints "baseless."   Welcome to the war zone
that is special education in Ontario As
in many cases examined by the Star, communication
between family and school board broke down
completely, an issue the working committee
intends to address. "We have to do better at
communicating," says co-chair Kathleen Wynne,
parliamentary assistant to (Gerrard) Kennedy.
  "Maybe we need a third party who knows how to
get past the emotion, because common sense gets
lost in emotion" parents whose children have
gone through the system or retired teachers, for
Does my Student have FASD?
  • Teachers should only assess and NOT diagnose
  • All of the primary behaviours related to FASD can
    have other causes and every problem student
    does not have FASD - this is a critical concept
  • FASD can be picked up even in ECE settings
  • If you see several or all behaviours request an
    immediate psycho-educational assessment
  • While you are waiting use FASD strategies. They
    will help almost all learning disabled students

Most Students with FASD are Invisible
Physical Birth Defect IndicatorsMost can be also
caused by factors other than alcohol
  • Brain damage
  • Heart defects
  • Blood vessel defects
  • Hearing/ear problems
  • Kidney deformities
  • Uro-genital defects
  • Small head size
  • Scoliosis (skeletal)
  • Long, smooth philtrum
  • Short palpebral fissures
  • Thinned upper lip
  • Skeletal (eg.clinodactyly)
  • Club foot
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Dental abnormalities
  • Growth abnormalities

Primary Behaviours Related to Neurological Damage
  • Learning
  • Attention
  • Judgment
  • Memory
  • Performance (varies)
  • Impulsivity
  • Abstract Concepts
  • Communication
  • Lack of Conscience
  • (A-L-A-R-M
  • Cognition/aural slow
  • Inability to generalize
  • Executive Functioning
  • Social Perception
  • Boundaries (touching)
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Eating Problems
  • Learning is affected
  • PLUS)

Getting A Diagnosis
  • Psycho-educational testing is the first step
  • If psych testing suggests major learning
    disabilities the next step is medical testing
  • FASD diagnostic testing is done by a full
    interdisciplinary medical team
  • A medical diagnosis of FASD diagnoses the child
    but the mother is also included so a diagnosis of
    FASD is a diagnosis for two.

Diagnosis The Earlier the Better!
  • Diagnosis should bring special programs for a
    child (and disability support for an adult)
  • Labelling may bring some understanding of self
  • and helps stop self-blame
  • Demonstrates that the individual needs special
    treatment. Intervention MUST follow diagnosis
  • Increases social awareness of FASD which may
    eventually reduce the stigma associated with it
  • Individuals diagnosed early get fewer secondary
    behaviours related to chronic frustration

Missing an Early Diagnosis
  • Unless they have serious behaviour problems
    pre-school and primary students with FASD will
    often be missed because their cognitive
    limitations have not yet been challenged
  • Parents MUST be believed when they describe what
    is going on at home the earliest clues will be
    found there

Psycho-educational Testing
  • Average IQ for full FAS is 74
  • IQ range for full FAS is 20-130
  • Average IQ score for FASD is 90
  • However, an IQ score in the normal range is
    misleading as many people with FASD are unable to
    perform at levels indicated by their IQ scores.
    (Streissguth, 1996)
  • Educational success is more than just IQ

Psycho-educational Testing
  • A full battery of psycho-educational tests is
    needed, Verbal and Peformance IQ testing will be
    part of this testing
  • Full battery psycho-educational testing will
    reveal very obvious skewing if FASD exists
  • If possible, testing which tests two functions at
    the same time will often reveal highly useful
  • Plan an IEP which maximizes strengths and
    minimizes weaknesses

The Ideal Situation
  • Ideally the child with FASD will get early
    diagnosis and his/her Parents/Caretakers,
    Physician, Educators, Therapists, Social Support
    Workers and mentors will meet at the school level
    and begin to develop a realistic, life-long plan
    of communication and care to minimize the
    development of secondary disabilities
  • We all need to work towards this situation

FASD as a Learning Disability
  • In Ontario FASD is not recognized as a specific
    learning disability
  • Many parents feel their children would be better
    served if FASD was treated as a
  • specific learning disability
  • In light of the Auton decision (June 2004) in the
    Supreme Court of Canada it is unlikely to be
    recognized as a specific learning disability any
    time soon

FASD as a Learning Disability
  • Governments are beginning to realize they
    definitely can not afford to recognize FASD which
    is almost twice as common as ASD and far more
    costly in the long run
  • Recognizing FASD as a specific learning
    disability would open a Pandoras Box

FASD as a Learning Disability
  • Recognizing FASD as a Special Education category
    could open the door to recognition as a
    disability and Sections 7 and 15(i) of the CCRF
    could kick in
  • Your child or student needs help NOW not when the
    right thing finally happens.
  • You child cant wait while you lobby!

Then Why Diagnose FASD?
  • A students educators MUST know they are dealing
    with FASD
  • USE EXISTING Ontario Special Education categories
    with FASD in mind They will work
  • An advocate must help teachers to understand how
    to deal with the behaviour caused by brain
    damage. Be prepared to teach educators about FASD

Celebrate Strengths, Minimize Weaknesses
  • This is the good news and reason to hope a basis
    for intervention and educational success exists
  • Fostering innate strengths and minimizing
    weaknesses is the basis of success for students
    with FASD
  • Success has been shown to prevent defensive
    secondary behaviours in affected students

Individual Education Plans
  • Plan an IEP from the psych test results,
  • if possible plan it WITH the teacher(s)and
  • caregivers
  • Teachers, who are mere mortals, must be able to
    follow this plan without jeopardizing their other
    20 students or their own health
  • Re-assess IEP frequently and fine tune if
  • Include others for support caregivers, EA,
    mentors, buddies, anyone in circle of support
    (external brains)

Learning Styles
  • Most students with FASD are first and foremost
    tactile or hands-on learners. This helps with
    their need to move. Learning in context is
    easiest and most efficient for most of them
  • Visual learning is the next easiest style for
    most students with FASD. A picture is worth a
    1000 words has a whole new meaning for FASD!
  • Least of all, students with FASD are auditory
    learners. This does not work well for most of
    them (but teachers will still have to talk.)

Typical Strengths and Abilities
  • Hands on learners
  • Kinesthetic, energetic
  • Learn by doing and repeatedly shown
  • Good long term visual memory
  • Value fairness and
  • can be rigidly moral,
  • comforted by rules
  • and orderliness
  • Express themselves
  • well verbally
  • Good with animals, children, mechanics,
    computers, and the arts
  • Friendly, affectionate,
  • loving, loyal, gentle,
  • determined, sensitive
  • and compassionate

Educational Environments for Students with FASD
  • 1- Special class or school just for students
    with diagnosed FASD (David Livingston in
  • (video available, profiled on The National)
  • 2- Home Schooling www.edu.gov.on.ca/extra/eng/ppm
  • 3- Regular Classroom with integrated special
    education and withdrawal where necessary
  • With proper planning most students with FASD
    can be accommodated in a regular classroom
    (challenging but doable)

Most Important Reframe the Behaviour you see
  • If they could they would -It is not that
    students with FASD wont, they cant
  • Understanding this will change your attitude and
    they will notice you support them
  • Behaviour Brain Damage
  • Diabetics need insulin, paraplegics need wheel
  • Students with FASD have permanent brain damage
    and need you to respect them for what they are,
    they cant survive without this

Interventions for SuccessDealing with FASD
Information Processing Deficits
  • Structure is critical- structure with clear and
    predictable routines is paramount,gentle
  • Supervision/Monitoring external brain may be
    needed 24/7- or be a telephone call away
  • Simplicity-simple, brief directions repeat them
  • Steps- break everything down, written/visuals
  • Context- if teaching a skill do it where it will
    happen generalization is often difficult

Start with the Classroom Environment
  • The classroom learning environment has the
    most effect on students abilities to learn
    within the settings we provide. This includes
    its organization, its management, and its
    emotional components.
  • Use the acronym
  • S-C-O-R-E-S

  • Supervision
  • Close supervision to keep students safe
  • and out of trouble - 24/7 (Recess too!)
  • Structure
  • Teach students that every day has a consistent
    and routine structure to it
  • Simplicity
  • Keep rules, routines and directions simple
  • Give directions orally and in visual form

  • Communication
  • -Regular and frequent communication
  • between home and school
  • -Students are taught and reminded how to
    communicate feelings and needs to teacher, peers
    and others
  • Consistency
  • -Routines, rules and consequences are
  • consistent
  • -Steps to complete a task are given in the
  • same way every time

  • Organization
  • The school helps students to become organized
    by teaching and reinforcing sequential
    organization strategies repeat, repeat, repeat
  • Classroom is organized a place for
    everything and everything in its place
  • The lessons and the day are organized

  • Rules
  • - Simple, concrete and easy to follow
  • eg. Dont hit rather than abstract
  • eg. Be kind or Stay safe
  • - All staff use the same words for each rule and
    follow the same rules
  • - Check to see whether students know and
    understand what the rules mean
  • - Consequences are followed up
  • - Consequences applied immediately and
    consistently taking into consideration students

  • Expectations
  • -Focus on life skills/social skills vs
  • -Realistic, attainable, and easily understood
  • -Modified/take into consideration the special
    needs of students
  • -Clearly specify what is to be expected and
    accomplished on any given assignment
  • -Limit the amount of work, including homework

  • Self Esteem
  • -Students feel accepted, valued and safe
  • -Positive encouragement is given in a
  • consistent way each day
  • -Students strengths are explored to help
  • them cope with the frustration of things
  • they cannot do
  • -Students are reassured that they are not
  • bad even though their behaviour is
  • unacceptable and needs improvement

More Classroom Strategies
  • Minimize visual/sensory overload
  • Tone down colors paint walls light blue/grey
  • Reduce/remove clutter
  • Clearly define areas- use lines on floor or
    colored tiles
  • Provide visual cues sequencing
  • Keep classroom as simple as you can

Attention Strategies
  • Use as few words as you can
  • Use auditory/visual cues and prompts
  • Focused teaching areas (One activity only)
  • Use separate seating/carrels/dividers
  • Repeat/Reteach/Repeat
  • Reinforce, Recognize, Encourage and Support
  • Vary background sounds and activities soft
    music or silent activity followed by physical

Strategies for Transitions
  • Prepare for transitions use visual and/or
    auditory cues
  • Have an agenda for the day on the board for the
    students to see
  • Routine!!
  • If you are aware of a change in routine, alert
    ahead of time and practice new steps
  • Practice Repeat Re-teach
  • Have a digital clock visible
  • Warn or remove before fire drills

Discipline Strategies
  • Focus on solutions not problems
  • Positive incentives
  • Reinforce the value of failure
  • Recognize and celebrate little successes
  • Firm, consistent, clear rules
  • Consistent follow through
  • Emphasize responsibility for own choices
  • Encourage positive self-talk
  • De-emphasize cause/effect

Strategies for Dealing with Hyperactivity
  • Recognize triggers read body language nip
    outbursts in the bud
  • Brain Gym
  • Provide regular breaks and allow cocooning in a
    quiet place
  • Provide clay, kushy balls or anything soft to be
    held and manipulated by hand for the child to
    keep at his desk so that he/she may sit a little
  • Make use of weighted vests (dentist)

Teaching Students with FASDBuilding Strengths,
Creating Hope
  • The following website is INVALUABLE
  • fasd.asp
  • Western Canada is light years ahead of us in
    all aspects of FASD understanding, prevention and
    intervention (education)
  • Do not try to re-invent the wheel, go to the
    above Alberta website for the newest and best
    resource on successful education for students
    with FASD
  • You may print for free 165 pages in length

Whats Next for FASD?
  • Current Trends in FASD
  • Intervention - Understanding FASD and helping
    individuals with FASD and their care-givers to be
  • Prevention Messaging Zero 4 Nine, There is
    no safe level of alcohol in pregnancy, etc.
  • Research- FASD is quickly becoming a
  • hot research topic early times as yet

For More Information
  • Please feel free to contact the presenter at
  • cunninghammary_at_rogers.com
  • or 519-893-7393 (Kitchener, Ontario)
  • The internet is a valuable source of information,
    search under fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • www.education.gov.ab.ca/k_12/
  • specialneeds/fasd.asp (excellent resource)

Thank you for your attentionto and interest
in helping to understand, prevent and intervene
in the lives of those living with FASD Mary
K. Cunningham
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