A Roadmap for Education
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A Roadmap for Education

Mary Cunningham is a FASD educator and advocate living in Kitchener, Ontario. She met FASD “up close and personal” for the first time in 1998 and has been studying FASD and educating others about this disorder ever since. She is retired from the Toronto District School Board. During 30 years of teaching in Ontario she worked as a teacher in many subject areas, a secondary school department head, a resource developer and an educational consultant.  

Mary’s main FASD interests are professional development for educators and the welfare of students and the families of students with FASD.  She is published and presents across Canada and internationally on the topic of Educational Success for Students with FASD. This website represents something she has wanted to do for years – write a guidebook for teachers on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  This is a “for teachers, by a teacher” resource but I have written it to apply to all educators in the system. Everybody from the custodian to the principal needs this information.  Success with FASD requires a whole school, whole board strategy.  

In addition to educators parents and professional caregivers should find the material in this website to useful as they work to understand FASD and support people with these disorders.   

A Roadmap for Education

There is a wealth of information on FASD now available for educators. This website will direct you to the most useful resources currently available.  It must be emphasised that this website is only a starting point for educators and others interested in FASD and Education. It represents the informed opinion of the author as to what is currently most important to know and understand about FASD in the classroom. Each educator will then need to choose where to continue with their own efforts to understand FASD. The best resources at this time for self-study will be clearly indicated.  Professional development by an educator who understands FASD is recommended.  For more information or permission to re-use material in this website please contact the author at: cunninghammary@rogers.com.

All across Canada schools are realizing that they are confronted with the task of educating a growing population of students affected with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD. They also recognize that current educational methods and philosophies that have been standard practice since the country was settled over 400 years ago are not always effective with students with FASD and that to succeed with FASD and other similar brain-based disorders educators need radically different strategies. The roadmap to education success that we have been using needs to be updated and revised.

Click for a pdf or website link for an article that deals with how we got to be here and what we need to do differently to provide successful education for students with FASD and other brain-based disorders.  Fortunately what works for FASD will also work for most other brain-based disorders and this simplifies things considerably. 

FASD breaks most of the “education rules” that have evolved since schools first started centuries ago. It is absolutely normal for educators to need several in-service training opportunities from educators who already understand FASD before they will be able to “make the paradigm shift” necessary to be successful with FASD. Make your board aware that you need some in-service training at the board level. Boards and the schools within them that are all on the same page with respect to FASD will get better results. 

Click for a pdf or website link of An Overview of FASD and Educational Issues

All of the really critical resources for educators are on-line except for one.  The one you really need that you should order is Trying Differently Not Harder by Diane Malbin.  It is essential to a real understanding of the problem behaviours of students with FASD.

There are many excellent resources about FASD that are available on this site. 

Click for a pdf or website link of favourite readings and webpages.

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