Explaining FASD to Your Child
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Explaining FASD to Your Child

What Your Child Should Know...

  • Cause of FASD: The brain damage and resulting difficulties of FASD are caused by a mother drinking alcohol while pregnant. Often this happens before a mother knows she is pregnant, not because she wants to hurt her baby.
  • FASD is a spectrum: Each child with FASD is affected differently. Some have more difficulties and challenges, and some have less.
  • What helps: Using an external brain, having others help them think through decisions, remembering their challenges are because of an organic brain injury, it is not their fault!


  • When should you tell your child? There is no ‘right age’ to tell a child they have FASD, so take cues from her – a good time to talk is when she starts asking questions about why things for her are different.
  • Have the conversation in an understandable way: Use story books, pictures, and other visuals to help you explain what FASD is.
  • Use simple terms to explain the facts: Remember your child’s chronological and developmental age. You may need to repeat several times, and provide more information as your child gets older.
  • Explain FASD to your child’s friends and siblings: Explaining FASD to other children can help them to accept your child and understand why he is sometimes treated differently at home and school.

SAM'S BEAR- A Story Book About FASD

For a printable tip sheet of this information, click here.

Developmental Resource Centre Waterloo RegionSunbeam Centre