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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


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and complex trauma: A resource for educators 2018

This resource is a revised edition of Understanding and addressing the needs of children and young people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder 2014

These resources are published by Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre. Authors Sue Thomas and Jane Weston


Supporting school-age children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

This resource was produced by Developmental Disability WA 2019. Authos Dr Amanda Wilkins and Dr Robyn Williams


Churchill Fellowship

Kym Crawford (Principal)

Education of students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder



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: Supporting Students

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




FASD Can New Zealand

Hey Teacher (New Zealand) Resources for teachers

Ministry of Education New Zealand

Inclusive Education Guide for Schools


Worcestershire County Council Early Years and Childcare Services and Sunfield Research Institute

FASD: Focus on strategies – Building Bridges with Understanding Project This information provides a framework and practical ideas for working with primary and secondary students


Secondary framework: Teaching and learning strategies to support secondary aged students with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)  This framework is part of the 'Facing the challenge and shaping the future for primary and secondary aged students with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FAS-ed)' Project

Teachers Toolkit



Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Working with students with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the education system This handbook presents educational strategies for teachers working with children and young people living with FASD

Understood (USA)

Understood for learning and attention issues


Student like me: A video guide for educators teaching children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (Deb Evensen)

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9

Eight Magic Keys

Original document - developed by Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke in 1997

Videos (WRaP Schools)

Videos (Earth Channel)


Provincial Outreach Program for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (POPFASD) British Columbia Ministry of Education eLearning Videos FASD

14 videos focusing on supporting brain differences

Video Open Future Learning

FASD Supporting Success

Yukon Department of Education (Yukon, Canada)

Making a difference: Working with students who have FASD

Healthy Child Manitoba and Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth (Manitoba, Canada)

What educators need to know about FASD: Working together to educate children in Manitoba with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Page last updated 10 October 2019