This site introduces the neurobehavioural difficulties that may appear throughout the lifespan of individuals with FASD. It is important to recognize that, being a spectrum disorder, FASD can look different for different individuals. Not all individuals with FASD will experience all of the issues presented here. However, this site summarizes the common neurobehavioural features of FASD found in current research. The problems presented on this site are not necessarily gender-specific.
Many individuals with FASD experience academic difficulties, which may reflect underlying difficulties or lack of exposure to consistent schooling. However, they also have many areas of strength that can form the foundation for meaningful intervention approaches and positive educational experiences. Gaining an understanding of an individual’s academic strengths and difficulties helps to ensure appropriate supports and creates opportunities for success.
Academic skills are often a reflection of the way in which many different types of underlying cognitive abilities are functioning together. As such the reason for difficulties in these areas can be hard to trace back to a specific factor. Areas of academic learning that are common issues for these kids are number processing tasks such as math, language based tasks such as reading and spelling, and motor based tasks such as writing and sometimes physical education. Researchers have found considerable variability in the academic abilities of teens and adults with FASD. One study found that adolescents and adults with FAS and FAE were, on average, performing at a grade 2-4 level in reading, math and spelling. Multiple underlying cognitive factors (noted below) have been identified as contributing to some of these observed difficulties. Efforts to create shared understandings between youth, educators and communities of care have demonstrated improved behavioural and academic outcomes for youth with FASD indicating that with appropriate support these barriers to accessing their academic potentials.