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Module 6: Diagnosis and Treatment of FASD

Guidelines for Working With Persons With an FASD - Appendix

Back to Guidelines for Working With Individuals With an FASD

  • Provide occupational, physical, and speech therapy.
  • Monitor vision and hearing.
  • Work with the person at his or her developmental level (may be different for each task).
  • Recognize and modify expectations regarding timelines.
  • Recognize that shutdown, crying, or tantrums result from being overwhelmed - stop and try later.
  • Limit environmental stimulation. For example, decrease distractions at meals, keep sleeping rooms quiet and free of distractions, break into small groups for discussions when possible.
  • Modify the physical environment as needed. For example, use chairs with armrests and provide a footstool.
  • Provide opportunities for movement. For example, have the person stand and stretch.
  • Provide social opportunities, such as social clubs, community groups, and organizations that serve persons with disabilities, play dates, and "buddies." Try contacting The Arc or Special Olympics for suggested activities.
  • Create stable, structured home and school environments with clear, predictable routines.
  • Be consistent (discipline, behaviors, routines).
  • Explore medication for attention problems and other mental health concerns.
  • Use different calming techniques, such as beanbag chairs, warm baths, and headsets with quiet music.
  • Monitor activities and provide constant supervision.
  • Provide external cues for behavior control. Role play different situations, such as appropriate and inappropriate touching.
  • Remind and reinforce positive behaviors. Reward positive behavior with praise or incentives. Positive reinforcement should be immediate. Punishment is not always the best answer, because people with FASD may not understand why they are being punished.
  • Constantly discuss safety issues, such as dealing with strangers. Develop a signal for “Stop, get out of danger.” Give safe choices wherever possible.
  • Talk about cause and effect relationships whenever possible.
  • Use concrete language and examples. Be very specific. Say what TO do, not what NOT TO do.
  • Use visual aids, music, and hand-on experience to help with the learning process.
  • Give notice when changing activities, such as using cue cards or pictures.
  • Make eye contact, use short instructions, and repeat things. Be prepared for the child to forget today what was learned yesterday.
  • Have the person complete one task at a time. Have the person repeat the instructions. Walk through the task if possible. Provide rewards after each task is completed.
  • Develop alternative teaching approaches. For example, use physical objects to demonstrate math concepts.
  • Provide as much one-on-one attention as possible.
  • Be aware of body language and know warning signs for frustration, sadness, anger, and other potentially hurtful emotions.
  • Provide systems for teaching about personal belongings. For example, color code and label personal items. Say that personal belongings have only your color or name on them.
  • Teach independent living skills, such as job training, carefully and methodically. Start early. Teach independence at home with the help of visual cues, rules, routines, and role playing.
  • Provide assistance with independent living, such as trust funds and job coaches.

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