CanFASD pulled together 3 programs and strategies from recent research that are designed to support students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) to succeed in our education system.

1. Metacognitive Strategies

Research released in March of 2019 finds that “co-creation” of metacognitive strategies can be an effective approach to support learning and self-regulation in individuals with FASD. Known as “metacognitive training interventions”, this strategy teaches students to “think about their thinking”. This approach helps individuals with FASD to first understand what they want to learn, and secondly to identify and then use appropriate strategies to help them achieve that goal. Co-creation (essentially helping individuals with FASD identify what works for them) is a really important step in the process. By co-creating these metacognitive strategies, students were better able to then apply the strategies to future tasks.

Metacognitive strategies focus on the individual’s abilities and strengths rather than their challenges. This approach provides them with an opportunity to use and improve their skills, where other intervention strategies have typically focused on altering that individual’s environment. The authors of this research found that participants were able to create and use strategies such as clarifying directions, visualization, setting goals, positive self-talk, and deep breathing/relaxation in order to achieve their end goal. The findings suggest that encouraging students to use metacognitive strategies increased the individual’s autonomy and improved their self-regulation and attention.

2. Integrating FASD Programming

As part of a research program out of the University of Victoria, a computer game called Caribbean Quest was developed. It was designed specifically to improve the learning skills of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and FASD. Research looking at the impact of this game on attention and executive functioning in nine students with FASD found it to be a valuable intervention strategy to improve educational success for individuals with FASD. (Read more…)