Children and youth with FASD may become easily overwhelmed in everyday situations, which can result in unpredictable behaviours. Here are some ideas to help your child cope with their everyday environments:
- It is important to look for potential distractions, especially in places such as classrooms. Things such as an open window, door, or scraping chairs can be very distracting to a person with FASD, and those things make it difficult to concentrate on the task.
- Before going out, consider the location and the number of stimuli that your child could encounter. Highly stimulating environments (those that have music playing, lots of people, lots of things to look at), such as malls, fast-food restaurants, and grocery stores may be too much for your child to take in and process.
- One way to understand how your child understands their environment is to take a piece of paper and have them describe everything they smell right now. With another piece of paper, do the same thing with what they see, then what they hear, and then what they can taste. This will give you a better idea of how your child experiences all that is around them and is a fun game as well!
- When considering their environments, think less is more. This means less noise, people, stuff, activity, etc… It also means order and always keeping things in the same place.
- Store all things together by type, not size or space. For example, put all dolls together, all trucks together, all reading books together, all colouring books together…
- Try to make space visually concrete. You can do this with masking tape and floor mats to map out your child’s space. It also helps if rooms have definite divisions rather than an open-concept design.
Remember, it’s about trying differently not harder. If something does not work, try something else!