Background and Objectives

Mathematics achievement as a particular area of difficulty for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum dis- order (FASD) has been a robust finding in the literature. However, existing longitudinal data are outdated and do not consider mathematics performance across time during critical periods of transition such as adolescence. Longitudinal data on the developmental trajectory of mathematics and factors that may influ- ence outcomes can inform the development of effective educational intervention strategies for youth with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE)/FASD to promote academic success in the area of mathematics. In the present study, we aimed to add to the existing literature through the examination of mathematics perfor- mance at two time-points at both the group and individual levels. We also examined the impact of various demographic and environmental factors on mathematics skills over time.

Materials and Methods

Fifteen children and youth with PAE/FASD were assessed at time 1 (M age = 13.0 years, range 9–17 years), and at time 2 approximately 5 years later (M age = 18.5 years, range 15–23 years) using a standardized measure of math achievement.


At the group level, mean normative math achievement scores significantly decreased over time. At the indi- vidual level, reliable change indices indicated that 13.3% (n = 2) of participants’ scores demonstrated clin- ically significant change across time. No demographic or environmental factor variables were correlated with changes in scores across time.


With recognition that the results need to be considered in the context of the limited power and generaliz- ability that our small sample size offers, our results highlight the importance of considering both group and individual change. Without such information, there is the potential to overgeneralize the extent to which mathematics scores for individuals with PAE/FASD are decreasing across time. Our descriptive findings acknowledge the critical need for adolescent mathematics interventions which consider the complexity and diversity of the deficits present in PAE/FASD because existing services may be buffering some difficulties in the area of mathematics, but are not necessarily promoting longer-term impacts.

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