Diagnosis/Characteristics of FAS:Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Baby With FAS
©LaDena Campbell 2012 aka justateacher
This year in my classroom I have a student with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is only one of my little guy's diagnosis, along with Cerebral Palsy and others. This young man's biological mother tried to abort him by overdosing on cocaine when she was only 27 weeks along in her pregnancy. She did not want this wonderful boy.
As I was researching FAS in an attempt to help my little man, I decided that I would share what I have learned.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the only completely preventable birth defects.It is caused solely by the over consumption of alcohol by a pregnant woman. Too much alcohol causes many defects in an unborn child. One defect is delayed growth, either before or after birth. Children with FAS are almost always underweight when born. They also have a smaller head circumference.
Children with FAS have developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.They have attention deficit hyperactivity and learning disability. These children have a great deal of difficulty attending to tasks and retaining information.
There are common physical features of children with FAS including small eye slits, long face with a long, flattened nose. They also have thin upper lips and the indentation between the nose and upper lip is often nonexistent. They have flattened facial bone structure.
Learning difficulties are prevalent with children with FAS. There are cognitive delays that include difficulty with sequencing, memory, cause and effect and have weak generalization skills.
Children with FAS also have difficulty social and emotional functioning. They have difficulty with stealing, lying and defiance. They do not understand the consequences of their actions. They are easily manipulated by others. They have difficulty making and keeping friends. They are overly friendly and do not know the dangers of strangers. They can be very stubborn and perseverate (to repeat something beyond a desired degree) on inconsequential things.
Other characteristics of children with FAS include hearing and sight difficulties, heart problems, growth deficiencies, seizure activity, and bone and joint development.
But children with FAS are also loving, caring, children with a great sense of humor and creativity. They are musically and artistically talented. They want nothing more than to please everyone.
With all the physical and mental challenges that children with FAS must face, teaching them is very difficult. A consistent schedule must be kept. These children need to know what to expect and when to expect it. Following a schedule allows children to anticipate changes in the day and can result in fewer behaviors related to uncertainty.
Find a way to capitalize on the positives. If your student with FAS has a wonderful sense of humor, let him or her showcase this talent in the classroom, either in writing or other avenues that accentuate the humor. Use humor to deescalate negative behaviors. Use music to teach important concepts. Provide ways to promote artistic talent by having these students illustrate a class book or a team project. Encourage the caring nature by allowing them to read to younger students or care for class pets.
The most important thing you can do for children with FAS is to love them unconditionally. Research all that you can about the syndrome. Educate others.
A great site to start your research is http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/specialed/fas
I know that I am very lucky to have this very special young man in my class. He is teaching me as much as I am teaching him!