These resources address how individuals with FASD are affected by the condition during different stages in their lives. Click on a heading or link to view the information.
Common Characteristics of Infants with FASD
Some or all of the following may apply to infants with FASD:
- Often trembling and difficult to sooth, may cry a lot
- Weak sucking reflex
- Little interest in food, feeding difficulties (feeding can take hours)
- Difficulties adjusting to solid food because of disinterest and poor appetite
- Weak muscle tone
- High susceptibility to illness
- Unpredictable sleep patterns/cycles
- High sensitivity to sights, sounds and touch
- Failure to thrive (may continue to lose weight longer than normal after delivery)
- Delayed developmental milestones (for example, walking, talking)
- Problems with emotional bonding
As these infants get older, they generally are more oriented toward people, and display an absence of stranger anxiety. Infants who are alcohol-affected may be difficult to care for. The challenges around sleeping and feeding can be especially problematic and lead to exhaustion for parents and early childhood educators.
Some or all of the following may apply to preschoolers with FASD:
- Feeding and sleep problems
- Poor motor coordination, and poor fine and gross motor control
- Flitting from one activity/area to another, exhibiting butterfly-like movements
- More interest in people than objects
- Difficulty with social skills
- Overly friendly and indiscriminate with relationships, may seek out affection
- Expressive language may be delayed, or children may be overly talkative (but lack richness of speech, thought or grammar complexity)
- Receptive language often delayed; even if children are talkative, they may not understand much of what is said to them
- Inability to understand danger, often fearless
- Low tolerance for frustration and prone to temper tantrums
- Difficulty following directions or doing as told
- Short attention span
- Easily distracted or hyperactive
- Difficulty with changes and transitions, prefer routines
- Difficulty integrating sensory information, such as sound, touch, light, smells, movement, etc.
During the preschool years, many new problems can emerge, making it increasingly difficult to care for young children with FASD. For example, hyperactivity, risk-taking and poor motor skills can often result in FASD-affected young children children being exposed to danger, or hurting themselves or others. Furthermore, their friendliness and lack of discrimination in relationships can make them vulnerable to abuse.
Sanity Saving Tips for Kids with FASD
FASD Tips for Parents and Caregivers
FASD and the Family
Education / Special Education
Visuals for Teaching Tasks and Concepts Although posted to an autism education site, some of these images may also be useful for helping non-readers with FASD learn tasks and skills for daily living.
The Little Fox A story in the Native American tradition of a fox family (mother, father, and their young daughter with FAS). Focus is on ages birth to five.
MORE USEFUL RESOURCES
Strategies for Addressing FASD A 1-page chart that lists challenges, across the lifespan, for individuals with FASD and strategies to help address those challenges.
Executive Functioning A PDF of a slide presentation discussing the kinds of deficits in this area that are characteristic of alcohol-related brain damage. May be useful in working with a clinician, teacher or others in describing the individual’s adaptive function challenges.
Journey Through the Healing Circle A series of four videos for caregivers and family members of children who may have been exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. They use a traditional Native American storytelling approach. FASD is broached in a non-threatening, respectful manner.