Caring for a child with effects from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

To help your toddler or school-aged child with effects from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD):

  • Provide a structured home environment. Children with FASD do best in a home that has a defined routine and structure. The rules for the family need to be clear and frequently repeated for the child.
  • Enroll your child in an early-intervention program as soon as possible. Laws in the United States protect the right to education of all children. This includes those who have conditions that can interfere with learning, such as FASD. These laws protect parents' right to be fully informed about educational decisions that concern their child. In addition, the laws protect parents' rights when they disagree with any decision. Contact your state and local education departments for information about your rights to educational accommodations.
  • Help your child learn appropriate behavior. If your child has attention problems, has difficulty controlling his or her impulses, and is overactive, he or she may benefit from the same treatment measures that are appropriate for children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as behavior management and social skills training.
  • Encourage your child's independence. Help your child learn cause and effect by role-playing situations with different reactions and outcomes.
  • Encourage learning skills. Provide learning experiences using things your child can touch (tactile strategies) and things he or she can do (kinesthetic strategies). Your child's memory may improve if he or she uses a computer or tape recorder instead of simply listening and taking handwritten notes in class.

Last Updated: March 17, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & William Gilbert, MD - Perinatology

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