Article by Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society

As the new school year approaches, caregivers of children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can take proactive steps to ensure a smooth transition and set their loved ones up for success. By implementing strategies ahead of time, caregivers can help their children with FASD navigate the upcoming school year. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

  1. Start Early: Begin implementing strategies and routines before the first day of school. By gradually introducing new routines, you can help your child adjust to the upcoming changes and reduce anxiety. For example, establish consistent morning and bedtime routines to create a sense of structure and familiarity.
  2. Visit the School and Classroom: Schedule a visit to the school and classroom before the school year begins. This allows your child to become familiar with the environment, reducing potential anxiety on the first day. Meeting the teachers and support staff in advance also provides an opportunity to discuss your child’s needs, share information about FASD, and collaborate on strategies for a successful school experience.
  3. Share Information: Prepare an information package about FASD and your child’s specific strengths, challenges, and support needs. Provide this package to the teachers, support staff, and the school administration. This information will help them better understand your child’s individual needs and develop appropriate accommodations and supports.
  4. Establish Communication Channels: Build open lines of communication with your child’s teachers, support staff, and the school administration. Share your contact information and encourage regular updates on your child’s progress. Establishing a collaborative relationship with the school can ensure that everyone is working together to support your child’s academic and social development.
  5. Use Visual Supports: Introduce visual supports, such as visual schedules, social stories, and visual cues, to your child well before the school year begins. These supports can help them understand expectations, transitions, and daily routines. By familiarizing your child with visual supports, they will be better equipped to navigate their school day.
  6. Practice School-related Skills: Help your child develop and practice school-related skills, such as organizing their backpack, using a locker, and managing personal belongings. Practice activities like following instructions, taking turns, and raising their hand to participate in classroom discussions. These skills can boost their confidence and independence as they start the school year.
  7. Collaborate with Support Services: Engage with any support services available at the school, such as special education teams or occupational therapists. Share your child’s needs and collaborate on developing an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a personalized support plan. By involving these services early on, you can ensure that appropriate supports are in place from the beginning of the school year.

By implementing these strategies ahead of time, caregivers can help ease the transition into the new school year for children and youth with FASD. Remember to stay proactive, communicate openly, and collaborate with the school and support services to provide the best possible support for your child.

📚 Hey there caregiving superheroes! It’s that time of the year again, when chaos and excitement collide: the back-to-school season! 🎒✏️

We know you’ve got some epic strategies up your sleeves for getting your little ones ready for the new school year. So, why not share your top-secret tricks with us in the comments below? Don’t worry, your superhero identity will remain hidden! 😉

We’re on a mission to gather the most genius ideas that will save the day and make this school year a breeze for all caregivers out there. So, let the brainstorming begin! ✨💡✨