Understanding young children living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
“Through Different Eyes” has been developed with the knowledge that evidence shows that individuals with a neurodevelopmental disorder such as FASD who receive appropriate support at an early age will have better long-term outcomes than those whose disability goes unrecognised and unsupported. Intervention is most effective in the early years because this is a critical period of childhood development. If neurodevelopmental disorders are recognised early, tailored interventions can be undertaken at that time to support a child and provide them with a solid platform for their ongoing development.
Those working within the early childhood education and care sector play a significant and vital role in supporting children and families as they navigate their way through the first years of life. NOFASD Australia and Early Childhood Australia have, in partnership, developed a comprehensive suite of resources designed to offer early childhood professionals research-based strategies designed to meet the diverse needs of children with FASD.
The suite of resources has been designed to help build educator knowledge, skills and understanding, but will also prove useful for families where a child has either diagnosed or suspected FASD.
There are four elements in the “Through Different Eyes” suite of resources and each is outlined below. All the resources can be downloaded free of charge.
"Through Different Eyes"
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a name given to a range of brain-based impairments that result from alcohol exposure when a fetus is in the womb. Often described as an invisible disability, a person with FASD will need lifelong support, including during the early stages of development.
The Educator Guide explains what FASD is, how it occurs, its characteristics, and diagnostic criteria and pathways. Because FASD is a spectrum-based disorder, children will have different support needs. The “Through Different Eyes” This Educator Guide offers educators access to a combination of research-based evidence and stories of lived experience designed to enlighten them as to the varied ways that FASD may present, and how they can best support children with FASD and their families. The resources include:
- case studies
- videos and reflective scenarios
- subject matter experts
- practical and achievable strategies.
The poster has been designed to be eye-catching and easy to read. It is a resource for educators to use within services to encourage families to seek out support if they have any concerns about their child’s development, and it has been designed to reinforce messages such as:
- families are experts on their own children
- the importance of early intervention for children with neurodevelopmental disorders
- an introduction to the concept of neurodevelopmental disorders
- educators will respond to any concerns professionally, and all conversations will be private and confidential
- educators will be non-judgmental in their responses to families.
"Through Different Eyes"
The brochure has been designed for a two-fold purpose. It provides a summary of the information in the Educator Guide and will alert educators to the availability of the comprehensive information in the “Through Different Eyes” Educator Guide (which is being provided to Early Childhood Centres across Australia). It can also be used by educators if they are approached by a parent or carer who wants to know a bit more about FASD as they have become aware of particular behaviours and development differences in their child.
A series of videos supports and amplifies the information provided in the Educator Guide. Videos include “Expert Voices” where doctors or experienced educators explain some of the key concepts about this disability as well as videos where stories from those with lived experience of FASD are shared.
This work is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health