How Can I Support Individuals Better?

You can use the following tips to better support individuals with FASD:

  1. Early intervention is critical.  Regardless of a formal diagnosis, it is important that if FASD is suspected that appropriate and knowledgeable supports are provided to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes.
  2. Education and training are essential for service providers to ensure supports are appropriate.
  3. Individuals with FASD display dysmaturity, which means that their social/emotional development is often half their chronological age.  Effective strategies need to reflect the social/emotional development of the individual.  Good supports build on the individual’s strengths.  This will help them to develop skills and enhance self-esteem and confidence.
  4. Caregivers should focus on developing a structure and routine that addresses the needs of the individual.   Structure, routine, support and  supervision are critical components of interventions.
  5. Keep your language simple,  speak at a slower rate and pause frequently.  Recognize that it may take the individual longer to understand what you are saying and provide an answer.  Present  one direction at a time.   Repitition is critical for ongoing success.  Recognize that the individual may be able to complete a task one day, but not the next.
  6. Like autism spectrum disorders, people with FASD have sensory dysregulation.  As a result, they may be overly sensitive to what they hear, see, taste or smell.  Try to identify and minimize any sensory issues that they may have.
  7. Interdependence, not independence, is the life-long goal.  Life-long supports will likely be necessary.  Encourage the individual to ask for, and accept help.
  8. Individuals with FASD often require supports from a variety of professionals (e.g. occupational therapist, speech language pathologist).  Caregivers may need to act as case managers to coordinate services and advocate on behalf of the individual.

For more information, refer to the FASDONE Stakeholders Publications.