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Students with FASD have a wide variety of learning and behavioral issues and should be in educational settings based on individual needs and learning style.  Effective teachers must recognize and understand the neurological damage done due to prenatal alcohol exposure and that students will not outgrow it.  A "wait and see" approach is not appropriate.  Often children with FASD can fly under the radar because the disability is misunderstood and will often be mistaken for a behavioral issue when it is neurological.

Navigating Special Education is hard but often necessary. Learning how to advocate for your student will pay off.  Please use the menu bar below to guide you through the IEP process towards support. It is our wish to help make sense of FASD in the educational setting and save precious time in the process.  

FASD is often invisible.  People affected may not have outward facing signs of a disability.  While developmental dysmaturity is a distinguishing trait among people with FASD, expressive language is often high.  This can trick everyone into thinking someone with prenatal alcohol exposure is more capable than they are, leading to unrealistic expectations and failure.  The frustration from these expectations and the permanent brain damage in a person with FASD can lead to high anxiety and a variety of unwanted behaviors. 

  • Superficial or lack of academic participation

  • Quick temper, aggression

  • Verbal outbursts

  • Confabulation (appears as lying to an untrained eye)

  • Distraction, Innattention

  • Flat affect, disengaged

  • Elopement

  • School refusal or truancy

  • Peer difficulties

With the right environment and an understanding school staff, students with FASD can be successful. There are some excellent online resources that are free or inexpensive that educators can use to learn about FASD.  If you are in Northern California, contact us to discuss a live training.   

FASD, the invisible disability

Considering a School 

Whether you are choosing an initial school placement or there has been a disruption, it is important to ask the right questions when considering a school for someone with FASD.  We have created a printable list of potential questions and a worksheet to help with notes and keep you on track.  Just click on the image.

REMEMBER: Schools with heavy focus on behavior modification with methods like a point system to earn privileges or using a "Time Away" approach (until you can calm down and do what is asked) will often fail students with FASD.  

For better understanding of what is typically needed for your student, please watch our series of webinars: FASD in the Classroom.  

Questions to ask when looking at a potential classroom.jpg

The 504 Plan

If your child's disability does not "effect the educational performance and/or ability to learn and benefit from the general education curriculum", a 504 plan is another option.  A 504 plan addresses barriers in the learning environment and provides support so that students can learn alongside peers. has a good side by side comparison of the 504 and IEP.

Things to remember when in doubt...

Being identified and receiving special education is a protective factor

for your student

You are part of the IEP team and your opinion is valuable


Educators are not usually trained in FASD - you are the expert

We are here to help

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