Education & FASD Toolkit
A Project of the UW Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit

Resources for Educators

In this section: Issues in the classroom | Strategies for educators

This section contains free manuals, videos, and webinars to help educators understand classroom symptoms of FASD, as well as proven strategies to help students achieve optimal academic outcomes.

Challenges in the classroom

Common classroom symptoms of FASD



Written materials

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Education Strategies: Working with Students with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Education System (pdf, 244p.)
National Organization on FAS; Center for Disabilities, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota (2009)
Handbook for teachers with strategies for elementary, middle school, and high school students with FASD. (more Expand/Collapse)

Strategies are arranged by topic (e.g., functional assessment, environmental modifications, communication, executive functions, brain-based teaching methods, and social skills and behavior. The development of these materials was supported in part by IDEA Part B Grant #HO27A080091A from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs through the South Dakota Department of Education, Special Education Programs

Making a Difference: Working with students who have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (pdf, 122p.)
Yukon Education, Government of Yukon (2007)
Downloadable manual discussing 12 essential elements for serving students with FASD. (more Expand/Collapse)

Topics covered include: a personal orientation and a view of the child with FASD that are essential in moving towards success; the basic approaches required in programs designed for children with FASD; how the brain affected by alcohol functions differently in the areas of behavior, sensory input, language, memory, and academic and social skills, and strategies for dealing with these differences; a discussion of the needs of students as they move through the school system.

Teaching Students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Effects: A Resource Guide for Teachers (pdf, 76p.)
Ministry of Education, British Columbia (1996)
Web-based guide describing the needs of students with FAS/FASD. The appendices provide helpful downloadable checklists that can be used in the classroom.


Understanding How FASD Impacts Students: Why is it Important? (45 min.)
Hosted by the Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit, University of Washington (2017)
Presented by Drs. Elizabeth West and Robin Harwick, this webinar explores the importance of education related to the impact of FASD on students. (more Expand/Collapse)

The goal of this webinar is to increase confidence in discussions with parents/caregivers about FASD and understand how to begin to determine what types of interventions are effective for students with FASD. A particular focus is on working with students from diverse populations. Elizabeth West, PhD is an Associate Professor in the University of Washington College of Education; Robin Harwick, PhD is a Project Director at the Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit (FADU) of the University of Washington.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders for Educators (54 min.)
Hosted by the Indian Health Services (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence (2017)
Julian Davies, MD, summarizes the neurobehavioral impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure and helps educators determine appropriate levels of involvement with referrals and collaboration. (more Expand/Collapse)

Dr. Davies, a pediatrician at the University of Washington, presents an understandable orientation to the neurobehavioral impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure, explains the FASD diagnosis process, and helps educators determine appropriate levels of working relationship with FASD diagnostic clinics for referrals and collaboration.


Common Strengths of Students (6 min.)
Dan Dubovsky, MSW, FASD specialist, discusses the benefits of utilizing a strengths-based approach for students with FASD.

Parents of Special Education Students: Building Positive Relationships (3 min.)
Frank Arella of Teachings in Education provides concrete strategies for building collaboration with parents to improve student outcomes.

A Shift in Approach (5 min.)
This video helps educators shift their thinking to better support students by hnderstanding FASD as a brain based disability. Produced by Provincial Outreach Program for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (POPFASD)

Comparing ODD, ADHD, and FASD (5 min.)
Dan Dubovsky, MSW, FASD specialist, explains the similarities and differences of ODD, ADHD, and FASD as they pertain to students.

Students Like Me (Episodes 1-2) (4 min. each)
Produced with a grant from NIAAA, this video teaches educators how to recognize students with FASD and modify their class and teaching methods.

Strategies for educators

Strategies for Succes

Written materials

What Educators Need to Know about FASD: Working together to educate children in Manitoba with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (pdf, 86p.)
Healthy Child Manitoba, Government of Manitoba (2009)
Great resource for classroom teachers in any region serving students with FASD. (more Expand/Collapse)

Learning Landscapes: Supporting Sensory and Processing Behaviors Associated with an FASD (pdf, 2p.)
Suzie Kuerschner, FASD Consultant and Trainer
This document provides educators with advice on how best to support students experiencing sensory or processing behaviors associated with an FASD, including challenges impacting the ability to focus, self-regulate, organize, and process information.

Includes concrete strategies that are useful for students with or without a FASD diagnosis that have similar learning needs. Domains covered include Physical Motor Skills, Sensory Processing, Cognition, Communication, Academic Achievement, Memory, Executive Functioning and Abstract Reasoning, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity, and Adaptive Skills. The resource also includes information on secondary disabilities, and chapters on "what students want their teachers to know" and "what parents want teachers to know."


FASD Solutions: Education and Behavioral Strategies (60 min.)
Hosted by the Indian Health Services (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence (2017)
Presented by Deb Evensen, MA, this webinar helps viewers understand how to identify neurologically driven behaviors and implement interventions to help students succeed. (more Expand/Collapse)

This webinar describes how educators can identify changes in functioning in a student with FASD, evaluate and identify neurologically driven behaviors, determine a method of accessing student functioning as compared to accessing a neuro-typical student, and describe how to implement brain-based, developmentally appropriate interventions toward individual planning and student success. Deb Evensen is affiliated with the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), Alaska.

Students with FASD: Simple Strategies for Behavioral and Academic Success (60 min.)
Hosted by the Indian Health Services (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence (2015)
Presented by Deb Evensen, MA, this webinar is focused on providing strategies to improve academic outcomes and behavioral success for students with FASD. (more Expand/Collapse)

This presentation describes how prenatal exposure to alcohol permanently alters a developing brain, leading to lifelong learning and behavioral challenges. Viewers will learn specific strategies to improve academic outcomes and behavioral success for students with FASD. The presenter also discusses how working with the developmental age of students with FASD is the foundation for developing positive behavioral outcomes. Deb Evensen is affiliated with the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), Alaska.

Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Why Can't We Find Them (60 min.)
Hosted by the Indian Health Services (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence (2015)
This webinar by Larry Burd, PhD, describes a validated screening tool for identification of FASD and how it can be used in an academic setting. (more Expand/Collapse)

The goal is for this tool to be routinely utilized in assessment of children in an academic setting where FASD is a possible concern. Intervention strategies designed to improve outcome for children with FASD that can be used in a school/community setting and educational implications of the impairments identified in alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorders are also discussed. Larry Burd, PhD, is the director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center at the University of North Dakota.


Strategies for Improving Outcomes (13 min.)
Dan Dubovsky, MSW, FASD specialist, offers concrete strategies for educators to help them reduce their frustration with students and help them be successful.

Every Kid Needs a Champion (TED Talk) (8 min.)
Inspiring video for educators presented by a teacher with 40 years of experience. A good reminder of the important role educators play in the lives of their students.

Students like Me (Episodes 3-9) (4-5 min each)
Gives educators a clear understanding of what FASD is, how it affects learning and behavior, and what can be done to help children with FASD learn.

Other Resources

Supporting Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (Multimedia)
Engaging All Learners, Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC)
This resource was developed by Dr. Jacqueline Pei and her colleagues for Professional Learning Communities, coaches, and educators. It includes three modules: how prenatal alcohol exposure’s effects the brain, strategies for educators supporting students, and how prenatal alcohol impacts behavior (e.g., mood, emotions, reactions).

8 Magic Keys: Strategies for Students with FASD
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS); Created by Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke (2005)
Purchasable DVD ($20) of an animated film that uses a character named Mario to teach viewers about key strategies proven to help students with brain-based disorders become more successful in school and life. Download a PDF of the 8 Magic Keys. (more Expand/Collapse)

The animated video begins with an introduction to the topic of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and then moves onto demonstration of key strategies. Scenarios depicted represent both secondary and elementary situations. Join Mario as he collects all 8 of the "Magic Keys" with the support of his friends, teachers, and family, and talks about what it is like to live with FASD.

Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment
The Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment provides many useful tools for transition planning to facilitate "successful secondary and postsecondary educational, vocational and personal outcomes for students and adults with disabilities."

Effective Practices and Predictors
National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)
Find a number of practice descriptions and lesson plan starters for practices and predictors identified as effective for all students with disabilities. (more Expand/Collapse)

NTACT identifies and assists stakeholders with implementing evidence-based and promising practices and predictors that promote positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Additionally, NTACT links users to outside sources, such as the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Evidence-Based Practices for Vocational Rehabilitation (RRTC on EBPs for VR) for more detailed explanations of practices identified through other sources. Evidence for each practice is indicated in each of the Effective Practice Descriptors.