Links to Success in School for

Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

© 2005 Teresa Kellerman


paper chain

What does success in school look like for the child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)?


First Three Years

Parent is primary teacher, reads to child, plays with child daily


Group leader recognizes child has good days and off days


Classroom aide allow child to work at child’s own pace

Elementary School

Principal provides safe haven for child who is overwhelmed

Junior High

Counselor is available and visible during non-class times

High School

Mentor assists student with assignments after school


Job coach provides supervision and guidance at work site


At each stage of development, there are key people in the child’s life in and out of the school system who can provide a safe and nurturing learning environment.  The success of the child depends on strong and healthy relationships with these key people that offer positive encouragement along the way to adulthood.


These key people will recognize the subtle signs of neurological impairment related to FASD that might be invisible to the untrained.  These key people will understand the implications of frontal lobe dysfunction and how that impacts behavior and development.  These key people will know that the child’s ability to function will vary from day to day, even from moment to moment.  These key people will expect the child’s ability to control behavior to fluctuate from age appropriate to levels well below the child’s chronological age.  These key people will strive to prevent situations that lead to failure and will set the child up to succeed.  These key people will discover hidden talents in the child that they can nurture, helping the child to grow in self-confidence and success.


From birth to adulthood, each of us becomes a link in the chain of successful moments, from one year to the next.



FAS Community Resource Center

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