Interventions for Addressing Behaviors

Just as people with disabilities may need external support to accomplish daily living tasks, so do people with FASD. But instead of needing ramps and wheelchairs to maneuver through their daily life, they may require an “external brain”. Essentially, that means that the people who are important in the life of a person with FASD (parents, family members, teachers, counselors) need to make adjustments to the environment so it is structured, predictable and consistent. This will help the person with FASD be successful.

Every child or adult with FASD is unique, so interventions and accommodations should be individualized to meet their special needs. Remember that FASD is brain damage and how an individual may function will vary depending on where they are on the spectrum.

General Guidelines for Parents and Professionals to Consider

Be Consistent.

It is important for the caregivers of an individual with FASD to be in-agreement about how they are going to address challenging behaviors and to select interventions that address the individual’s specific needs. Constant reinforcement of these positive strategies in both the home and learning environment are critical.

Keep it Simple.

People with FASD often learn the best in a simple environment with few distractions. They also often learn best with simple, concise instructions. It may be helpful to address the child at their developmental age, instead of their chronological age. Caregivers may find it helpful to take the child’s age and cut it in half. That is the age you can expect them to act, and how you interact with them.

Structure, Structure, Structure!

Structure helps people with FASD make sense out of the world. So, it is important for the caregivers to provide as much structure in their daily schedule as possible. Using a picture schedule to help children with an FASD understand the daily schedule is also very helpful.

Be Specific.

Often people with FASD are literal thinkers. It is important for the caregivers to be very specific about what is expected in concrete terms. Say exactly what you mean and avoid abstract language. Give directions step by step. Break larger tasks into smaller tasks.

Provide Supervision.

People with an FASD can sometimes accidentally get into trouble because they do not always anticipate the consequences of their actions. It is important to provide adequate supervision to assure that they stay safe.