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What teachers can do

Teachers can raise concerns and work with health professionals to inform a diagnosis. Along with parents and carers, teachers play an important role describing what they see, identifying triggers that may stimulate a response and other factors that provide challenges.  It is critically important that teachers understand the strengths and difficulties of a child or young person with FASD and work in partnership with the family.


During the assessment process a teacher may be asked to complete some information about the child. Following a diagnosis, the health professionals will prepare a management plan. Parents are encouraged to share some of this report with the school to assist in coordinated strategies being implemented.


Children and young people with FASD benefit from targeted learning strategies. They may require explicit instruction to acquire skills that typically developing children would learn through observation or generalisation, often related to working memory and attention issues.

Successful learning strategies

  • Using visual & auditory cues
  • Using clear, simple instructions & tasks
  • Lots of repetition
  • Breaking tasks into small steps – recognition that a complex task will be more difficult to complete as several domains of neurodevelopmental functioning may be required
  • Hands on learning
  • Specifically designed group activities
  • Improving self-monitoring with use of devices such as mobile phone calendars and reminders
  • Use the 8 Magic Keys to underpin teaching and learning strategies - use concrete and simplified language, be consistent, use lots of repetition, keep a routine and structure to each day, provide lots of supervision

Common difficulties and tips

Ten domains of neurodevelopment (the brain's neurological pathways that influence performance or functioning) are known to be affected by alcohol exposure in pregnancy. The following information links those 10 domains with common difficulties seen in people with FASD and tips for helping to improve skills and manage daily activities.

FASD in Australia

Managing FASD

Challenges and Hope

Michael and Lina’s story

AUSTRALIAN RESOURCES

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and complex trauma: A resource for educators (2nd Edition)

Fostering professional learning communities to support children and young people living with FASD. This second edition acknowledges the role of complex trauma and its relationship to FASD and draws on new research about the effects of trauma on the developing brain and presents new insights on the interrelatedness of trauma and FASD.

Published by: Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre (2018)
Authors: Sue Thomas and Janes Weston
Available: Free digital download as a PDF document

 

Supporting school-age children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Published by: Developmental Disability WA (2019)
Authors: Dr Amanda Wilkins and Dr Robyn Williams
Available: Free digital download as a PDF and hard copies available

 

Classroom adjustments: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Podcast

Produced by: Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) 

Presenters: 

  • Christine Brooks NOFASD Australia
  • Anne Russell Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association
  • Dr Dee Basaraba Principal Project Officer: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Services

 

NOFASD Australia

Back to school tips (2019)

Information for teachers

 

Churchill Fellowship

Kym Crawford (Principal) Education of students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Judith King (Principal) How schools can change communities to create students that are ready to thrive and learn

 

PhD Thesis 

Dee Basaraba Deakin University 2016 FASD: From Isolation to Inclusion in Australian Schools 

 

Video

Story of alcohol use in pregnancy and FASD

Professor Elizabeth Elliott (Paediatrician) This Australian video is designed for health and justice professionals and teachers

 

Australian State & Territory Education Department websites

Australian Capital Territory: Disability Education

New South Wales: Disability, learning and support

Northern Territory: Special Education and Disability

Queensland - Students with disability

South Australia: Disabilities and special needs

Tasmania: Students with disability

Victoria: Program for students with disabilities

Western Australia: School of Special Education Needs: Disability

INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES

FASD Can New Zealand

Hey Teacher (New Zealand) Resources for teachers

Ministry of Education New Zealand

Inclusive Education Guide for Schools

Students with learning support needs 

 

NOFAS UK

These frameworks are part of the 'Facing the challenge and shaping the future for primary and secondary aged students with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FAS-ed)' Project

Primary framework: teaching and learnign strategies to support primary aged students with FASD

Secondary framework: Teaching and learning strategies to support secondary aged students with FASD 

Teachers Toolkit

 

USA

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

6 Things Educators and School Staff Should Know About FASD Nate Sheets Oregon Behaviour Consultation (video)

 

Canada

Engaging all learners
Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium, University of Alberta, Learning Network Educational Services (Canada) includes videos and other resources

Student like me: A video guide for educators teaching children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome 

Common strengths of students with FASD - video by Dan Dubovsky 

 

Eight Magic Keys - original concept developed by Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke in 1997 

Videos WRaP Schools

Video by Colorado Department of Education based on developing successful interventions for students with FASD by Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke and feedback from the Anchorage School District FASD Committee 

Page last updated 10 October 2019