Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 101

Education & Support

The Blog

8 Magic Keys

Posted by fasd101 on June 16, 2013 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Developing Successful Interventions for Students with FAS

The following “8 Magic Keys” created by Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke summarize the strategies teachers should implicate into the classroom for effective teaching and learning of students with FASD.

Although this strategy was created to help the student and teacher, it can easily be adapted to daily life.

1. Concrete

Individuals with FAS do well when parents and educators talk in concrete terms, don’t use words with double meanings, idioms, etc. Because their social-emotional understanding is far below their chronological age, it helps to "think younger" when providing assistance, giving instructions, etc

2. Consistency

Because of the difficulty individuals with FAS experience trying to generalize learning from one situation to another, they do best in an environment with few changes. This includes language. Teachers and parents can coordinate with each other to use the same words for key phases and oral directions.

3. Repetition

Individuals with FASD have chronic short-term memory problems, they forget things they want to remember as well as information that has been learned and retained for a period of time. In order for something to make it to long-term memory, it may simply need to be re-taught and re-taught many times.


Stable routines that don't change from day to day will make it easier for individuals with FASD to know what to expect next and decrease their anxiety, enabling them to learn.

5. Simplicity

Remember to Keep It Short and Sweet (KISS method). Individuals with FASD are easily over-stimulated, leading to "shutdown" at which point no more information can be assimilated. Therefore, a simple environment is the foundation for an effective school and home program.

6. Specific

Say exactly what you mean. Remember that individuals with FASD have difficulty with abstractions, generalizations, and not being able to "fill in the blanks" when given a direction. Tell them step by steip what to do, developing appropriate habit patterns.

7. Structure

Structure is the "glue" that makes the world make sense for an individual with FASD. If this glue is taken away, the walls fall down! An individual with FASD achieves and is successful because their world provides the appropriate structure as permanent foundation.

8. Supervision

Because of their cognitive challenges, individuals with FASD can be nieve in daily life situations. They need constant supervision, as with much younger children, to develop habit patterns of appropriate behaviour.

NOT Working?

When a situation with an individual with FASD is confusing and the intervention is

not working then:

Stop Action!


Listen carefully to find out where he or she is stuck.

Ask: what is hard? What would help?

Would love to hear from you and know what you think. Please leave me a comment below.

To subscribe to my blog posts, click here.