Children with FASD can repeat things well but they often have difficulty understanding what is being said and expressing how they are feeling. Challenging behaviour can be your child telling you that something is wrong, but they do not have the ability to express what is wrong at that point in time.

Suggestions to help:

  • Identify how your child is feeling by providing simple labels for your child’s feelings
  • Create a picture chart using photos of your child’s face with labels to help them identify their feelings and emotions
  • Use a safe place: give your child a place to calm down, express anger or frustration where he is not penalized for acting out
  • Find out what is behind the behaviour. Wait patiently with your child until they are able to talk about it
  • Match your communication level to your child’s. If your child uses two-word phrases, use no more than two or three-word phrases when talking to them
  • Use visual cues, speak softly and slowly, with short sentences. Pause 20 seconds between sentences to allow your child time to understand what is being said
  • Use repetition and be consistent. Use the same words for the same instruction every time it is given, this helps to place the instruction into your child’s long-term memory
  • Use simple rules and be specific. Do not use abstract words. Children with FASD have difficulty with abstract concepts
  • Redirect your child rather than correcting or discipline
  • Reward good behaviour immediately
  • Focus on your child’s strengths
  • Change the environment, not your child. Change the environment so challenging behaviour is less likely to occur. Remember your child has brain damage and they are not acting out on purpose to upset you (FASD Waterloo Region, 2013b)