Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts resulting
from alcohol exposure during prenatal development. Individuals with FASD have strengths they
can use in and out of the classroom, yet much of the current FASD literature has largely focused
on personal deficiencies such as deficits in thinking abilities, and challenges with behavioural
functioning and emotional regulation.
This study employed a qualitative descriptive design. Semi-structured interviews approximately 30 minutes in length were conducted with two adolescents from Alberta, ages 13 and 15, with FASD. These adolescents voiced what they wanted teachers to know about their perceived strengths and struggles across school, home, and community settings. Interviews were audio recorded using Google Meet, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis.
Interview data provided insight into lived experiences including the strengths adolescents with FASD have and the struggles they experience in and out of school settings. By engaging individuals with lived experiences, more can be learned about the unique perspectives of adolescents with FASD. Results revealed adolescents with FASD want teachers to know (1) they are aware of some ways to manage their emotions and some of what adds to their struggles, (2) they have preferences for the ways they learn, and (3) they value and desire meaningful relationships.
These findings provide insight into how teachers can position themselves to provide high-quality instruction and specialized support for adolescents with FASD and appreciate the unique strengths and interests adolescents with FASD have to offer.