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KnowFASD

After what seems like far too long, KnowFASD is back in operation! To those of you who use the site regularly and have been waiting for its return, thank you for your patience.

If you have never visited the site, please feel free to drop by and check it out! Take a browse through the interactive home page and learn more/find help on the site’s wiki.

Our goal with KnowFASD is to provide a comprehensive site where viewers can learn about the neurobehavioural deficits associated with FASD throughout the lifespan and link to intervention options.

The main homepage of the website is an interactive interface where viewers can scroll through the lifespan of individuals with FASD, with neurobehavioural issues at each developmental stage presented as they may appear in day-to-day life. By clicking on a neurobehavioural issue, viewers are directed to a “wiki” (which works in a similar fashion to Wikipedia) housing information from current research on the neurobehavioural issue at hand. Each wiki page discusses a specific neurobehavioural issue: how it presents, potential causes, and potential consequences. At the bottom of each page, a link is provided to topic-specific intervention options.

Please feel free to visit the site, pass it along, and give us your feedback or suggestions. Check back often as we continue to upload information, links, and resources.

Visit KnowFASD

knowfasd

We recently featured our newest project, KnowFASD, in the latest edition of our iNAT newsletter. For those of you who have not yet subscribed to the iNAT newsletter, here is some information about KnowFASD:

Our goal with KnowFASD is to provide a comprehensive site where viewers can learn about the neurobehavioural deficits associated with FASD throughout the lifespan and link to intervention options.

The main homepage of the website is an interactive interface where viewers can scroll through the lifespan of individuals with FASD, with neurobehavioural issues at each developmental stage presented as they may appear in day-to-day life. By clicking on a neurobehavioural issue, viewers are directed to a “wiki” (which works in a similar fashion to Wikipedia) housing information from current research on the neurobehavioural issue at hand. Each wiki page discusses a specific neurobehavioural issue: how it presents, potential causes, and potential consequences. At the bottom of each page, a link is provided to topic-specific intervention options.

Please feel free to visit the site, pass it along, and give us your feedback or suggestions. Check back often as we continue to categorize and upload information.

Visit KnowFASD

Image source: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://shirtlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/happy-holidays-cntry.png&imgrefurl=https://shirtlabs.com/happy-holidays/&usg=__8__Uc2Cv4XKDh4oNh07FsXfclDs=&h=324&w=600&sz=36&hl=en&start=6&sig2=FDSTGXvbtAt2NKS4oAp3cg&zoom=1&tbnid=IzEbZKRzg20eSM:&tbnh=73&tbnw=135&ei=49bQUM21LpT9yAHO44HoDg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhappy%2Bholidays%26hl%3Den%26gbv%3D2%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1The holiday season is upon us!  flashing lights, sugar, busy public places, anticipation… These, among other things, can cause a lot of difficulty for individuals with FASD during the holidays. While one solution does not work for everyone, it can’t hurt to have a few ideas up your sleeve and tips to try.

Check out this list of Over 100 Holiday Strategies for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders from FASD Think Tank.

With Halloween on our doorsteps, it is important to think about the sensory needs of children with FASD on this fun-filled holiday.

Children with FASD tend to have more sensory processing issues that typically developing children (1,2). This means that they have difficulty interpreting and reacting accordingly to sensory input from their environment (3). For example, sounds might seem too loud or too quiet, lights may seem too bright or too dim, and touch may feel too strong or too soft. These difficulties in processing sensory information can make it difficult for kids with FASD to respond in an adaptive way to their environments, and are associated with higher than average behaviour problems, such as acting out, social and attention problems, rule breaking, and thought problems (3,4).

Enter Halloween: A holiday with bright colours, yelling and screaming children, costumes that can be easy to trip over, hard to see through, and uncomfortable to wear, and ghosts and goblins waiting in nooks and crannies to jump out and spook you at any given time. All of these things can make what is supposed to be a fun-filled holiday a very difficult time for a child with FASD, potentially resulting in dysregulation and negative behaviour.

Research on FASD and sensory processing  recommends that children’s sensory processing difficulties be taken into account when considering a child with FASD’s needs (3,4). The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has listened! The AOTA has put out some great tips for “Enjoying Halloween with Sensory Issues.” They have some great ideas to prepare children with sensory processing difficulties to have a fun and happy Halloween.

References:

1-Mattson, S. N., Goodman, A. M., Caine, C. D., Delis, D. C., & Riley, E. P. (1999). Executive functioning in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 23, 1808–1815.

2-Mattson, S. N., & Riley, E. P. (1998). A review of the neurobehavioral deficits in children with fetal alcohol syndrome or prenatal exposure to alcohol. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22, 279–294.

3-Franklin, L., Deitz, J., Jirikowic, T., & Astley, S. (2008). Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Problem behaviors and sensory processingAmerican Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 265–273.

4-Jirikowic, T. L., Olson, H. C., & Kartin, D. (2008). Sensory processing, school performance, and adaptive behavior of young school-aged children with fetal alcohol spectrum disordersPhysical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 2, 117-136.

The Do2Learn website is a fantastic site if you are looking for ways to practice learning at home or if you are looking for resources to pass along to educators, caregivers, service providers, and more!

Although the site is not specific to FASD, the resources target some of the toughest areas for individuals with FASD, such as academics, social skills, behaviour management, communication, and daily living skills. The pages have great ideas for activities in home, community, and classroom settings.

Academics

Difficulties in academic subjects such as reading, spelling, and math are common for individuals with FASD. These difficulties often become worse as the individual gets older, so early intervention is very important. The academics section on the Do2Learn site includes activities to promote the development of many academic skills. Topics include:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Language
  • Visual discrimination
  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Learning Strategies

Go to the academics section

Social Skills

Many aspects of social functioning are difficult for people with FASD. They may have trouble with getting along with others, making and keeping friends, understanding feelings and emotions, and acting appropriately in social situations. Just like academics, social difficulties can become more of a problem as the individual with FASD enters adolescence and adulthood. The social skills section on the website includes many activities to work on social functioning. Topics include:

  • Communication skills
  • Social behaviour
  • Social skills toolbox
  • Emotions colour wheel
  • Social emotional skills

Go to the social skills section

Behaviour management

Individuals with FASD often have behaviour difficulties. Some of these behaviour difficulties may show up as defiance, acting out, temper tantrums, aggression, stealing, etc. It is important to remember that these behaviours are usually not intentional. Negative behaviours often occur secondary to other difficulties, such as environmental stresses, lack of understanding, poor cognitive ability, or unreasonable expectations. The Do2Learn website keeps this in mind with suggestions for:

  • Classroom strategies to promote good behaviour and accommodate students with special needs
  • Resources to help understand and deal with the underlying causes of behaviour
  • Behaviour management strategies

Go to the behaviour management section

For Adolescents and Adults:

There is also a great “jobTIPS” resource for older adolescents and adults looking to get involved in the work force. JobTIPS takes the individual through a user-friendly job-planning process with step by step instructions, tips, and resources. Featured topics include:

  • Determining Interests: The client discovers what their interests and strengths are and what they need to work on (i.e. social skills)
  • Finding a Job: Different ways to look for work
  • Getting a Job: How to navigate the application and interview process
  • Keeping a Job: Keeping up with workplace expectations and how to behave in a work setting
  • Other Job Topics: Such as how to leave employment, legal rights in the workplace, etc.

For our readers:

Is there a resource on the Do2Learn website you have found particularly helpful? Leave a comment and share it here!

What other sites/resources have you found helpful?

References:

Kodituwakku, P. W. (2007) Defining the behavioral phenotype in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: a reviewNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 31, 192-201.

Kodituwakku, P. W. (2009) Neurocognitive profile in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders Developmental Disabilities, 15, 218-224.

Mattson, S. N., Crocker, N., & Nguyen, T. T. (2011). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: neuropsychological and behavioral features. Neuropsychology Review, 21, 81-101.

McGee, C.L., & Riley, E.P. (2007). Social and behavioral functioning in individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 6(4), 369-382.

Rasmussen, C. & Wyper, K. (2007). Decision making, executive functioning, and risky behaviours in adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure. International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 6(4), 405-416.

Have you got children that:

Wake up at all hours of the night? Won’t go to sleep or want to wake up in the middle of the night and play? Can’t get out of bed in the morning? Are tire during the day?

Check out this article on sleep issues for children with FASD published in the International Journal of Pediatrics.

The article mentions the many sleep problems children with FASD often experience, such as trouble falling asleep, fatigue during the day, night terrors, sleep walking, and frequent waking at night. Decreased sleep can lead to numerous problems in other areas such as academics, health, behaviour, daily living, and sleep routine of the parent/caregiver.

So what are some key components to healthy sleep?

1. Improved Sleep Environment:

Kids with FASD may be over-sensitive to stimuli in their environment, which may cause them to wake up or have trouble falling asleep.

Tips for improved sleep environment:

  • Earplugs
  • White noise machines
  • Dimmer lights in the home
  • Reduce business of visual stimuli (i.e. simple paint/wallpaper, not too many distractions in the room)
  • Cut off tags on pyjamas
  • Be aware of possible stimulation issues due to weight of blankets, temperature of home, smells (i.e. strong laundry detergents)
  • Night-lights for fear of dark
  • Don’t use bedrooms as a punishment
  • Consistency in environment for kids who have difficulty with change

2. Sleep Promoting Activities:

Calming activities before bed tend to reduce the time needed for a person to fall asleep. Exciting or invigorating activities before bed tend to increase the time needed for a person to fall asleep. Trial and error may be your best friend- activities that are calming for typically developing children may not necessarily work for a child with FASD.

Tips for sleep promoting activities:

  • Firm sequence and schedule
  • Use a soft voice and simple instructions
  • A visual schedule may help as a prompt
  • Read developmentally appropriate bedtime stories and avoid books that stimulate the senses like touch books or books with sound
  • Relaxing activities such as a warm bath or quiet music may help
  • Praising good bedtime behaviours may be more helpful than scolding undesired bedtime behaviours
  • Monitor the possible effect medications may be having on a child’s sleep.

3. Scheduling of Sleep:

Scheduling, routine and structure are critical, not only at bedtime, but throughout the entire day.

Tips for sleep scheduling:

  • Enforce rules and consistency
  • Maintain schedule on weekends and holidays
  • Melatonin may be helpful to establish a sleep schedule (talk to your doctor)

Source:

Jan, J. E., Asante, K. O., Conroy, J. L., Fast, D. K., Bax, M. C. O., Ipsiroglu, O. S., Bredberg, E., Loock, C. A., & Wasdell, M. B. (2010). Sleep Health Issues for Children with FASD: Clinical Considerations. International Journal of Pediatrics, v.2010; 2010. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2913852/

Caregivers and parents:

Help each other out! What are some of your sleep secrets? Have you found sleep strategies that work for your children? Post them here and help another parent out!

Anyone who has lived or worked with a child with special needs knows the importance consistency, structure and preparedness.

The Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network (EFAN) has some great tricks up their sleeve for FASD related difficulties. Check out their tips on keeping things consistent.

The internet is a wealth of information. Check out these new videos and webinars related to FASD intervention…

FASD Learning Series “Cognitive Interventions to Improve Math Skills”

This month’s FASD Learning Series webcast isCognitive Interventions to Improve Math Skills” Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 9-11 AM.

Topics to be discussed:

  • Research on FASD memory interventions
  • Math interventions in other clinical populations, and their implications for FASD
  • Specific intervention strategies
  • Evidence based practice
  • Application of research

Register now to attend the FREE live webcast.

Check out the Government of Alberta’s FASD Learning Series page to watch archived videos from previous presentations.

Neurodevnet FASD Video Resources

NeuroDevNet is trans-Canada research initiative that studies brain development in children.

On their resources page, the FASD Family Support video is a compilation of personal anecdotes about the need for support for families of children with FASD.

Some tips for families from the speakers in the video:

  • Try to find something every day to make the child with FASD feel good about what they are doing. Find something to pat them on the back for.
  • Think positive. Look for reasons to keep trying.
  • Have a good support system.
  • Trust your instincts and “think outside the box.”
  • Nurture children with FASD and remember to deal with them according to their functional age, which may be younger than their chronological age.
  • It is important for the child to self-advocate.

Below the videos, there are also several good links to web-based resources.

For Healthcare Providers: Free FASD Webinars Funded by the American Academy of Pediatrics, New Jersey Chapter

Part 2 of  the American Academy of Pediatrics funded webinars covers Assessment and Management of FASD.

The webinar will discuss areas of need for individuals with FASD and their clinical implications, distinguishing between  FASD and similar diagnoses, and management of FASD care coordination. The webinar will air on March 20, 2012, from 12:15-1:30 PM, EDT. Register here.

New Video about Movement, Attention and Learning from BC’s Provincial Outreach Program for FASD (POPFASD).

Chris Rowan of Sunshine Coast Occupational Therapy, Inc. speaks about the importance of movement and the stimulation of proprioception and the vestibular system as a precursor to attention and learning.

Watch the video on the POPFASD website.

The POPFASD website also contains a strong library of past eLearning videos with some great intervention information!

To Our Readers:

Do you know of a resource or webinar that you would like to share? Leave us a comment!

The holiday season can lead to lots of excitement (and sometimes stress and dysregulation, too). Check out these tips for the holidays and tips for staying warm from the Edmonton Fetal Alcohol Network.

Source: http://edmontonfetalalcoholnetwork.wordpress.com/

Reminder:

Don’t forget to check out the Government of Alberta FASD Cross Ministry Committee Learning Series‘ new webcast on Transition Planning, December 14th!

Register now

Previous Learning Series videos are available on the FASD Learning Series website.

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