Teaching Students with Developmental Disabilities: Tips from Teens and Young Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

By Duquette, Cheryll; Stodel, Emma et al. | Teaching Exceptional Children, November/December 2006 | Go to article overview

Teaching Students with Developmental Disabilities: Tips from Teens and Young Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder


Duquette, Cheryll, Stodel, Emma, Fullarton, Stephanie, Hagglund, Karras, Teaching Exceptional Children


Most teachers have-or at some point will have-a student or students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in their classroom. Yet because affected students may or may not possess the facial abnormalities that are characteristics of the disorder, their condition is sometimes "hidden." In other instances it is misdiagnosed. How can you identify students with FASD? And once identified, how can you best address their educational needs?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a term that encompasses the various neurodevelopmental disorders experienced by individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD incorporates the terms Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), and Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND). A diagnosis of FAS is made when an individual has a diminutive stature, small head circumference, the characteristic facial features (i.e., small eye slits, short nose, long and flat philtrum, thin upper lip, and flat mid-face), as well as central nervous system abnormalities (Stratton, Howe, & Battaglia, 1996). FAE and ARND are diagnostic terms used when an individual demonstrates neurodevelopmental disorders but not the facial abnormalities, the absence of which makes the condition a "hidden" disability. Of note is that the brain damage may be equally severe for all three diagnoses, regardless of the presence of physical and facial characteristics.

Although FASD may be the primary disability, secondary disabilities, such as depression, homelessness, trouble with the law, unwanted pregnancies, difficulties keeping a job, addiction problems, and suicide ideation, often develop during adolescence (Streissguth, 1997). FAS rates range from 0.2 to 1.5 cases per 1,000 live births in different areas of the United States, and other prenatal alcohol-related conditions, such as ARND, are believed to occur three times as often as FAS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003). A recent report estimated that the lifetime cost in 2002 for one individual with FASD is $2 million (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Characteristics of Students With FASD

Students with FASD have difficulties with impulsivity and executive functions (e.g., attention, planning, organizing, self-regulation, and self-monitoring) and are often first diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); (Streissguth, 1997). These students' processing and memory difficulties may result in a diagnosis of learning disabilities. Table 1 summarizes common learning and behavior characteristics exhibited by students with FASD (Goldschmidt, Richardson, Stoffer, Geva, & Day, 1996; Kerns, Don, Mateer, & Streissguth, 1997; Mattson & Riley, 1998; Streissguth, Aase, Clarren, Randels, LaDue, & Smith, 1991; Streissguth, Barr, Kogan, & Bookstein, 1996).

Although individuals with FASD share many of the characteristics shown by those with ADHD and learning disabilities (LD), the differentiating traits are an inability to generalize from one situation to another; being overwhelmed in stimulating environments; difficulties predicting outcomes and learning from consequences; problems with mathematics, time, and money; and an inability to retain information.

FASD is the leading cause of intellectual disabilities (Abel & Sokol, 1987); however most individuals with FASD have IQs in the normal range (Kerns et al., 1997; Streissguth, 1997). Many of them also have good verbal abilities that tend to mask their deficiencies and give others the impression that they do not have a disability. Moreover, most of these students are educated in general education classrooms as either full-time or part-time placements. Hence, given the range of learning and behavioral problems associated with FASD and the potential for teachers to misunderstand the nature of FASD, it is not surprising that many students are met with a lack of empathy and are denied accommodations; these responses, in turn, often lead to frustration and thoughts of dropping out of school. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Teaching Students with Developmental Disabilities: Tips from Teens and Young Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.