Learning With FASD: Collaborating With Parents and Caregivers

Research has illustrated that the academic, behavioural, emotional, and social success of children with FASD or other neurodevelopmental disability is positively influenced by strong relationships between home and school. Effective communication between parents and caregivers, and their child’s school is the cornerstone of ensuring these strong collaborative relationships.

This information sheet is designed to assist teaching and support staff in communicating clearly and effectively with a child’s family when they recognise a student is displaying challenges and behaviours consistent with FASD and may require formal diagnosis and additional support in the classroom. This information sheet is not designed to be a formal diagnostic tool. FASD can only be diagnosed with a multidisciplinary assessment by health professionals. However, educators can play an important role in identifying and documenting concerns and working with the family, school, and other health professionals to inform a diagnosis. This compilation of behaviours and observations can be provided to a multidisciplinary diagnostic team or other health professional to assist them with the diagnostic process.

It’s important to use a balanced approach when discussing the strengths and challenges of a child with FASD. This information sheet has been created to facilitate this strengths-based discussion. The purpose of this information sheet is to assist primary teaching and support staff to identify concerns early by engaging meaningfully with parents and caregivers. School settings will differ in the processes and procedures they use to move forward; however, strong communication with parents and caregivers will provide the most comprehensive picture of both a child’s strengths, challenges and needs, and this information can then be passed on to the diagnostic team. The cultural and linguistic background of the child and their parents or caregivers should always be taken into account when interpreting behaviours and communicating with families. The information sheet is intended to be completed collaboratively by school staff and parents or caregivers together in a face-to-face or video conferencing meeting. However, some parents or caregivers may prefer to complete the document at home.

Learning with FASD: https://learningwithfasd.org.au/resources/fact-sheets/teaching-learning-and-support-strategies-for-the-school-environment/

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