1. Respect, build a relationship, and understand the learner:

·   acknowledge the learner’s developmental levels in various domains

·   spend time getting to know your learner

·   understand the needs and the feelings of the learner

·   give praise for steps taken

·   teach that mistakes are normal and help us to learn

·   get to know your learner’s family and establish a trusting relationship

·   ask the learner what would help him/her

·   advocate on the learner’s behalf


2. Acknowledge the organic brain injury:

·   approach FASD as a physical, brain-based disability

·   connect how brain function links to the learning and behaviour

·   ask “What can I do differently to support this learner?”

·   ask “What is the behaviour communicating to me?”

·   plan and structure activities to provide success for all

·   on those tough days, remember that “Every day is a new day.”


3. Acknowledge the environmental influences:

·   understand and adapt the environment to create a good fit for the learner

·   experience (sight, sounds, etc) the classroom from the learner’s point of view

·   seat the learner in a less distracting area (preferential seating)

·   ensure that all things have a place — classroom is organized in a consistent manner

·   control lighting, temperature, smells as much as possible

·   utilize visuals for everything (schedule, specific areas of room, labels, supplies, etc)

·   create a “quiet space” for learners to enjoy some “down” time


4. Use a strengths-based approach:

·   recognize and build on the strengths of the learner

·   help learners to find and identify their strengths and “amplify” them

·   focus on the positive and have fun

·   focus on strengths

·   take a strength and build it into a contribution to the school community


5. Communicate:

·   with student, family, school team, and community supports

·   reduce language whenever possible

·   use visual supports

·   say exactly what you want the learner to do

·   present an appropriate number of directions based on the learner’s capabilities

·   ensure that the learner is comfortable asking for help

·   check in frequently with the student and provide praise and direction


6. Practice patience:

·   understand the nature of the disability – learning may be there one day, gone the next

·   break complex tasks into smaller steps

·   understand that repetition and many practice opportunities may be required

·   linking behaviour to brain function helps to “depersonalize” the behaviour


7. Create structure, routines, and consistency:

·   our kids rely on the structure and predictability of our classroom environments

·   teach routines for the “everyday” types of activities

·   provide advance warnings for changes to schedule and transitions

·   model, teach, practice and review classroom guidelines/routines throughout the year


8. Supervision:

·   determine an appropriate level of supervision, especially at unstructured times

·   try to be visible to the learner as much as possible

·   use conflicts/mistakes as opportunities for teaching


9. Teach social skills:

·   teach/practice in classroom setting then teach/practice in out-of-class settings

·   use small group setting when appropriate

·   build a positive peer climate in the classroom and utilize peer support

·   teach mediating skills using role plays


10. All Learners are different:

·   collect as much assessment information as possible to help inform instruction

·   there are no magical strategies; a strategy that works for one may not for another

·   our job is to know the learners well enough to find the strategies that may help

·   keep trying different strategies until you find the ones that make a difference[1]








[1] https://www2.fasdoutreach.ca/elearning/essential-tips accessed on the 13th July 2014