Curriculum for Addiction Professionals > Competency 5: Continuing Care of Families Affected by FASD > 5a. One-on-One Counseling and Structured Group Involvement
Competence 5: Continuing Care of Families Affected by FASD
Continuing Care for Clients with an FASD or Possible FASD, Continued
One-on-One Counseling and Structured Group Involvement
Recovery, which is a lifelong process, transcends treatment, which is finite in
time and scope. Ongoing counseling can help in the transition from treatment to
ongoing recovery. The addiction professional can provide counseling or refer the
client to a mental health professional. Although some group settings may be difficult
for persons with an FASD, the addiction professional may want to consider some type
of structured group involvement. A support group for youth or adults with an FASD
might help, as well as social and recreational programs that can accommodate individuals
with an FASD.
Clients and family members with an FASD face several issues, to which counselors
should be aware of. The addiction professional can provide support to the individual
and family in addressing these issues or can make appropriate referrals.
- Anxiety and
may be helpful, as well as counseling or encouraging the child to participate in
sports, clubs, or other structured activities.
- Victimization. It is crucial to monitor the child’s activities
and discuss dealing with strangers. Youth with an FASD tend to be very trusting
and may go places with strangers just because it sounds fun.
- Lying, stealing, or antisocial behavior. Family counseling is helpful,
as well as setting simple and consistent rules with immediate consequences.
- Poor peer or social relations. It can help to enroll the individual
in classes or social clubs for adults with disabilities.
- Mental health issues. Structure, routine, and plenty of activities
are important. Medication and counseling options should also be explored, particularly
Guidelines for providing ongoing counseling2
- Keep counseling session times flexible so that sessions can be shortened, lengthened,
or increased in frequency, depending on the individual treatment plan.
- Ask simple questions, repeat questions, and ask the client to repeat, in her own
words, what has been said. Keep discussions concrete. People with an FASD do not
understand abstract concepts. They should be asked to provide specific examples
of a general principle.
- Use verbal and nonverbal cues to increase participation and learning and make group
sessions run more smoothly. The counselor and the person with an FASD can work together
to decide the cues. The cues should be simple, such as holding up an index finger
and saying a code word (e.g., “interrupting”).
- Use various methods to share information and address issues, such as drawing, music,
and role playing.
- Find alternatives to written assignments or assignments that require a lot of reading.
Persons with an FASD often have memory problems and difficulty writing. Use videos
or break up reading and writing assignments.
- Systematically address what has been learned in the program and how it will be applicable
in the next stage of treatment or aftercare. People with an FASD have problems applying
information from one setting to another. Do not assume that lessons learned in treatment
will be applied in aftercare.