Students with FASDs have special learning needs and a wide range of behavioral challenges. NOFAS

Students with FASD may have learning challenges, such as:

  • Visual and auditory processing problems
  • Difficulty with reading comprehension
  • Memory problems
  • Sensitivity to sensory input
  • Attention deficits
  • Problems with social behaviors
  • Problems with math or abstract reasoning
  • Problems with multiple rules or directions
  • Inability to understand cause and effect

THE BRAIN - Imaging studies have shown structural changes in various regions in the brain.  These include a thinner or absent corpus collosum, reduced basal ganglia and smaller cerebellum.  These changes contribute to a lack of understanding that manifests behaviorally.  Persons with FASD may have difficulty with executive functioning and problem solving.  

These students may NOT respond to traditional teaching methods due to sensory and/or auditory processing problems.  

  • They may have a slower processing speed.  
  • They may melt down or fidget.  
  • They don’t learn from punishment, because they don’t generalize rules.  
  • They may have impulse control problems, and lack listening and social skills.  


Educators can play a vital role in helping students reach their maximum potential:

  • Try using concrete language
  • Use structure and routine
  • KISS: Keep It Short and Simple
  • Use consistency and be specific
  • Use repetition with rules and information
  • Provide consistent and constant supervision
  • Use cues, like writing reminder notes

Common challenges for children with FASD: 

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inability to complete task
  • Slower processing speed
  • Dysmaturity (rule of thumb is to cut age in half)
  • Auditory or visual difficulties
  • Rigidity and trouble processing transitions or changes in routine

School Systems can help by:

  • Providing trainings for teachers to learn how to recognize characteristics of FASD and strategies for effectively teaching affected children
  • Using environmental modifications, like simple rooms, eliminating background noise, or oral testing
  • Using educational interventions both in and out of school
  • Using tools designed to address neurologically-based problems related to FASD