Educational Needs - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Children with FAS, ARND and ARBD have special educational needs. Even very young infants can benefit from early stimulation programs to help with intellectual and motor development.

Preschoolers often have a range of developmental and language delays as well as signs of hyperactivity, irritability, and distractibility. Preschool programs which follow individualized educational plans are helpful for the child as well as for the parents who gain valuable respite time to regroup from the intense demands of these children.

Appropriate placement in special education classes beginning in elementary school is often necessary for children with FAS, ARND and ARBD. A small classroom setting with clear guidelines and a great deal of individual attention can maximize the intellectual capabilities of these learners. Although intensive remedial education has not been shown to increase the intellectual capabilities of children with FAS, ARND and ARBD, it may prevent further deterioration.

Many patients with fetal alcohol syndrome reach an academic plateau in high school. Many will be unable to hold a regular job. Nonetheless, all of these students need to know basic life skills, including money management, safety skills, interpersonal relating, and so forth. These tasks will enrich their adult lives and allow them a degree of independence. The addition of such a life-skills component to the special education curricula for FAS students can be invaluable. Wherever possible and appropriate, vocational training should be part of the high school experience. Unfortunately, most vocational and technical institutes beyond high school will offer a curricula too academically rigorous for developmentally delayed individuals.

 

From 1989 - 1996 Dr. Turben was Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at John Carroll University. In addition to teaching Teach Education and Early Childhood-Special Education courses, she supervised masters and post-baccalaureate programs that lead to the PreK, Kindergarten, and Early Education of Handicapped Children validations. She has done research concerning the effectiveness of home visits, the importance of neighborhoods as social structures and parent involvement in schools.
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