We understand that sometimes parenting an individual with FASD/PAE can be challenging. All our children and young people are unique, and their brains are wired differently. Traditional parenting approaches may not be appropriate or successful for their neurodiverse brain.  

Many children respond well to therapeutic parenting techniques and using connective parenting principles (based on non-violence resistance, NVR). For those involved in supporting children and young people with FASD/PAE the following principles and considers are helpful to bear in mind.   

  • FASD as a disability  
    First, it is important recognise that those with FASD or PAE have a disability. This gives individuals additional rights and professionals additional responsibilities to protect their wellbeing and provide support. This may mean that they are entitled to a support person to be with them and may require frequent breaks and simple concrete language when talking with them.   

  • Think ‘stage not age’ 
    People with FASD often present as at a much younger age than their chronological one. This means we need to reframe our expectation and remember that even on an hour-to-hour basis, an individual’s ‘stage’ of development can fluctuate.  

  • Think ‘can’t not won’t’ 
    It is important to remember that the behaviours, or more aptly named symptoms, of FASD are not within the individual’s control. It is helpful to consider that an individual ‘can’t’ change their behaviours rather than ‘won’t’. For example, memory problems mean they will remember today but forget tomorrow.     

  • Masking 
    People experiencing FASD may ‘mask’ the challenges they are facing. They appear confident but they struggle to rememberThey are inconsistent in their responses and become easily confusedFrequent breaks, a supportive relationship and ‘checking in’ can help avoid this.   

  • Consequential learning, literal and concrete thinking 
    People with FASD can have trouble connecting an action to a result.  They may be unable to understand or remember previous experiences, so make the same mistakes repeatedly.  Individual with FASD learn best when they can connect their learning with physical tools, reminders, and visual prompts.   

Here are some resources that we recommend: 

  • CanFASD Caregiver Resource Guide 
    This resource gives insight and strategies into many areas of development and wellbeing, including sleep, friendships, routines, eating and much more. 

  • FASD: What Educators need to know 
    Top tips for the classroom, but many are useful for the home too.
  • Connective Parenting/NVR
    Sarah Fisher is a trainer in Connective Parenting/NVR. This approach focuses on building the relationship between you and your child and learning how to de-escalate situations before they arise.  

COMING AUTUMN 2021: FASD: Next Steps for Caregivers 

Delivered by our FASD Advisors, this 3-hour course is for those who have already attended our “What is FASD?” course or who already have a good knowledge of FASD. 

It will cover topics such as: 

  • How the brain develops, and the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure. 
  • Reframing our thinking 
  • Strategies for parenting an individual with FASD 
  • Signposting to further support