FASD – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term that describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol with the most common and serious result being life-long damage to the brain. Understanding that the permanent brain damage from alcohol use in pregnancy causes the behaviours commonly found in students with FASD reduces confusion and frustration for educators and is the basis for developing effective support and intervention strategies for students who have or are suspected of having FASD. One way to effectively support students with FASD is the neurobehavioural approach developed by Diane Malbin. It is explained on the reverse side of this page.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a permanent, brain-based, usually invisible, physical condition with behavioural symptoms. As with any other physical condition, identification and provision of appropriate accommodations are required in order for each person to be able to reach their full developmental potential. Symptoms of FASD vary widely, and can impact on: adaptive functioning, communication, attention, reasoning, memory, sensory processing, cognition, impulsivity and executive function. No two students with FASD are the same. Variability reflects the part(s) of the brain affected. Fortunately, many of the educational interventions and supports that have been developed for FASD will also work for other neurodevelopmental disorders and show promise for simplifying many current educational challenges created by the thousands of students exhibiting brain-based behaviours.

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