Students with FASD are often easily distracted and frustrated,
and experience deficits in social relations, organizational skills,
attention to detail, motor skills and concrete thinking.
- Specific areas of difficulty for students with FASD include:
- Decision-making skills
- Extra sensitivity to touch and other outside stimuli
- Memory tasks
- Social skills
- Holding attention
- Personal boundaries
- Motor skills
Although every case of FASD is different and requires individualized
attention, teachers can use the following strategies to improve the
learning environment for the affected student:
- Be patient with poor conduct. The student may have at least some
degree of brain damage and therefore cannot always control behavior.
- Place the student near the front of the classroom so he/she can
focus more easily.
- Allow the student to take short breaks when necessary.
- Place armrests, bean bag chairs or other borders around the student
so he/she feels more safe and secure.
- Provide extra time at the end of the day for the student to prepare
- Only give the student one task to do at a time and make sure
he/she understands the instructions; also, check on the student
frequently to answer any questions or solve any problems he/she
- Provide the student with a copy of the days notes so that he/she
will not become distracted when trying to write down messages from
- Be aware that the student might be sensitive to touch and think
that an accidental bump by another student is a shove. Monitor such
situations and intervene quickly to diffuse the situation before
- Use positive reinforcement over disciplinary action when possible;
always reward good behavior with praise and incentives to encourage
the student not to behave poorly.
- Spend some time figuring out how the student learns best. If
one technique does not work, try something different. Using visuals
and hands-on activities often prove successful.
- Keep a consistent and predictable classroom schedule to avoid
confusion for the student.
- Provide an easy-to-understand checklist of assignments for the
student so he/she can keep track of progress.
- Have the student reiterate directions in his/her own words to
ensure understanding of the assignment.
- Be patient and understanding, but also show genuine interest
in the student. When the student feels that a teacher likes him/her,
he/she will feel more comfortable and safe in the classroom.
- Make a quiet area for the student if the classroom becomes too
loud or distracting.
- Prepare the student in advance for changes in the daily classroom
- Speak in concrete terms. Avoid words with double meanings, idioms,
- Be specific when giving instructions. Instructions may have to
be repeated a few times before the student retains the information.
- Rhythmic activities such as choral reading, spelling and math
chants are effective to hold a studentfs attention.
- Use background music to calm the student. Teaching concepts through
music can also be effective.
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Educational Rights for Children with Disabilities
There are two main laws protecting students with disabilities:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
of 1997 (IDEA)
Established in 1975, this Act retains the basic rights and protections
for children with disabilities. In 1997, the amendments were added
to improve education of children with disabilities by:
- Identifying children with special needs before they enter school
and providing services to help them,
- Developing individualized education programs (IEPs) that focus
on improving educational results through the general curriculum,
- Educating children with disabilities with their nondisabled peers,
- Setting higher expectations for students who are disabled and
ensuring schools are held accountable,
- Strengthening the role of parents and fostering partnerships
between parents and schools,
- Reducing unnecessary paperwork and other burdens.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of this Act states that no qualified individual with
a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program
or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance or is
conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service.
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