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Meeting the Needs of Children and Families (Part 1):

Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome Disorder

Sarah Pike- 300651815 Inclusion Child. Special Needs - ECEP 233 - 002 Professor Christine Cadieux Monday, March 24th, 2014

It started with a few drinks....

...and this is our story.

Introduction to Simon and Thomas

Simon and Thomas are three (3) years old twins and have been adopted by a couple from North Bay. Recently, both boys have been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder or commonly known as FAS. The new foster parents, Mr and Mrs Hansen have moved to the Toronto area to accommodate their new family needs while the adoption process is still in progress.

What is FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) is caused by women consuming alcohol while pregnant; this exposure has lead to various permanent birth defects in the developing fetus that can be preventable (What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?, n.d.). Image a child having permanent physical and mental disabilities that were preventable.

Characteristics of Facial Features


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. (n.d.). Curriculum for addiction professonal (cap): level 1. Retrieved from

Characteristics of Body Appearance

Some common characteristic of FAS compared to children who are typically developed:
Slow growth rate (What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?, n.d.) They have a smaller birth weight and smaller head circumference (What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?, n.d.) Children with FAS can be smaller in stature or height (What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?, n.d.)

Additional Disabilities and Side Effects of FASD

Learning disabilities Developmental delays Inappropriate social skills Difficulty learning from consequences Hyperactivity Poor concentration Memory problems Difficulty following instructions

The information on this slide has been used from What is fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?. (n.d.). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Retrieved from

Behaviour Components
Both Simon and Thomas (3 year old twins) have been diagnosis with cognitive delay and impulsive behaviour as part of their Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
What does Cognitive Delay mean? Cognitive delay refers to the

delay in most academic and social behaviours as compared to his or her same-age peers according to the Special Education Report of Alberta (Special education definitions, 2004, p.1).
What does Impulsive Behaviour mean? Impulsive behaviour is best

described as the acting without thinking or the inability to wait including doing things suddenly, without any planning ahead or considering the effects of their actions (The abc of mental health, 2014).

The Family Stress

Both parents, Mr and Mrs Hansen have stated to me (the RECE in a junior preschool room) that they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the move from North Bay to Toronto with no immediate family around and the diagnosis of their twins.

Concerns: The parents were apprehensive about moving to a large metropolitan city of Toronto. Unfamiliar with the local communities and unsure of where to get help. Parents feeling overwhelmed by the diagnosis of FAS; both Simon and Thomas have difficulty with impulse control and being cognitive delayed.

Accommodations at the

Junior Preschool Room

There are FOUR areas to think about in an Inclusive Classroom

1. Curriculum Planning

2. Guidance Strategies
3. The Class Environment

4. Working with the Family

But first let me introduce myself...

Hello, my name is Sarah Pike and I work in the Junior Preschool Room at Triumph Demonstration School here in Toronto. After reading about Simon and Thomas diagnosis and what Mr and Mrs Hansen have expressed to me during our first meeting. I have strategized how I can accommodate the children into my inclusive preschool room based on our Reggio Emilia philosophy.

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 Hello Mr and Mrs Hansen, Thank you for meeting with me last week, I just wanted to touch base with you both regarding the answers to some of your questions and concerns that we discussed . Based on your concerns, I am forwarding some suggestions on how I can accommodate the boys in the classroom that can beneficial to all my little investigators, as well as some suggestions/techniques you could use at home. I will also pass on the agencies and organizations that I contacted that I feel could help.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me back at (416)393-7000 ext.777 or by e-mail. Sincerely yours,

Sarah Pike RECE

Some examples of how I would accommodate / modify my curriculum planning:
Social Stories to be read out loud to the whole class to encourage the class to learn about social cues that would be inclusive for all such as, Weather birds first day of school. For some students, periods of physical activity followed by quiet activity helps to reduce stress (Attentional difficulties, n.d.) such as having structured free time to finding a book to read on the carpet. Play turn-taking games. Pass an object around and when a child has the object it is that childs turn (Social skills, n.d.). This will encourage Simon and Thomas learn about turn taking, patience, make eye contact and sharing.

Children with FAS may need more physical stimulation to help reduce their hyperactivity such as helping around the classroom or helping with snack time or colouring or painting or reading in a rocking chair (Attentional difficulties, n.d.).
Rhythmic activities such as choral reading, spelling and math chants are effective at retaining attention (Attentional difficulties, n.d.) .

Guidance Strategies
Anticipate and preventing problems through close supervision or partnering with peers can also build up self awareness (i.e., buddy system, peer tutor) (Cause and effect thinking, n.d.). By modeling positive behaviour in the class that will reinforce the learning for all children based on Albert Bandura s theory (Kail,, & Zolner, 2012,p.8-9). By making sure body language and tone of voice match positive behaviour.

Use concrete reinforcements or reminders (e.g., the use of stop hand-signals) to help the student change problematic behaviour such as calling out in class (Attentional difficulties, n.d.) .
Short and clear messages such as direct instructions. Ex. Come sit down on the carpet.

Set limits and consistently follow them (Social skills, n.d.). Ex. Walking feet in the class.
Encourage the child to help as a valued member of the classroom (Social skills, n.d.). Ex. Simon, I like how you put the crayons away.

Encourage decision making by giving the student choices and allowing the student to carry through with the choices they made (Social skills, n.d.). Ex. Thomas, would you like to play with the cars or paint?.

The Classroom Environment

Here are a few suggestions of strategies that I use when setting up the environment: Using visuals (real pictures) showing the programs structured routine of what is happening in the day to reduce anxiety levels by having them openly displayed in the room (Routine and consistency, 2012). Removing objects that are not in used to lessen distractibility such as in boxes, or store items in cupboards (Attentional difficulties, n.d.). Putting away objects will encourage the whole class (including Simon and Thomas) to focus on what is displayed and available to use. The classroom setup can be very busy and loud; its important to arrange a quiet area to use when distractions are too great (Attentional difficulties, n.d.). Playing music in the background is a soothing way to stimulate the ambiance of the room /environment (Attentional difficulties, n.d.).

Working with the Family

Having open-communication with Mr and Mrs Hansen through meetings, phone calls and communication log books.
Working on specific needs and goals of the individual child (at home and at school).

Requesting any updated information that might be helpful to enhance learning.

Accommodations at Home
Some suggestions for Mr and Mrs Hansen to use at home:

Set a routine and structure your day for both Simon and Thomas to get used to (p. 20). Be specific with what you want to convey and be patient; they may not respond right away (p. 21-22). When problems arise, they immediately need to be given reasons for the action especially for safety reasons (p. 24-25). Give Simon and Thomas advanced warnings before they switch task such as, Thomas, one more spin (on the spin top) then you need to wash your hands for dinner (Parenting children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome, n.d.,p.23). Make sure to secure door knobs leading outside to prevent them from trying to take off; especially at night. Sports may provide an excellent channel for the childs energy, while boosting self-esteem and encouraging personal interests (p. 33). Make sure to keep a close eye to prevent the children from self harm. (p. 24-25).

The information on this slide has been paraphrased from Parenting children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome. (n.d.). A guide for daily living. Retrieved from

Agencies and Organizations

Here are five suggestions that I recommend from the responses from my inquiries in the GTA. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. FAS World Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Clinic Ubunta Coffeehouse by Plan Toronto Holland Bloorview Play and Learn Canadian Mothercraft Society

Description of each agencies and organization is listed under slide notes.

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Hello Sarah, Cody and I are sincerely grateful for what you have done. The suggestions were very helpful and I have been in touch with some the organizations to find out what they recommend for our family. I will keep you posted if I need anything else. Thank you, you have been such a blessing!

Yours Truly,
Kate Hanson

Inclusion is about living full lives about learning to live together. Inclusion makes the world our classroom for a full life. Inclusion treasures diveristy and builds community. is for citizens, educators, families, organization all of us (Inclusion network, n.d.).

Please look in notes for full reflection

Inclusion network. (n.d.). What is inclusion? Retrieved from