Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Inclusive Classroom Practices


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a term referring to a range of disabilities that are caused by prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). The physical characteristics (e.g., facial features) are often absent, making FASD an invisible disability. However, the effects of PAE on the brain present as cognitive, behaviour, and social impairments that range from mild to severe.

The purposes of this scoping review of the research were to locate original studies relating to students with FASD educated in inclusive classroom settings and to “map” data from those studies that reflect teacher observations and classroom practices. Eight qualitative studies involving teachers and others participating in the education of students with FASD in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States provided the data for this article. A thematic analysis of the data from the studies was conducted using qualitative methods.

The findings revealed that several characteristics of FASD were observed in classroom behaviours. As well, educational practices with students who have FASD were largely ones that manipulated the environment, instructional strategies, and tasks to achieve appropriate academic and social behaviour. These practices were implemented with the entire class and were generally easy to use.

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