WRaP success coaches have aimed to provide innovative, collaborative, and transformative services and supports to promote the success and wellbeing of students with FASD, and to build the capacity of schools and families toward understanding this disability.
Through a formal mentorship model, WRaP Success Coaches are able to provide a structured relationship with goal-oriented supports for students with FASD.
With targeted and goal-orientated supports, WRaP is able to increase student academic success, improve student engagement, and enhance social, emotional and physical well-being. Through a focus on relationships, the WRaP Project has developed a best practices model of supporting students through informal and formal 1:1 mentorship.
Build a Support Team
The importance of creating a team around the student cannot be understated. Not all strategies or supports will always work, and it is important to be flexible and innovative in our approach. Collaborative efforts support a willingness to try new strategies, reflecting on successes and struggles, and communicate about how to move forward. With a wraparound model, WRaP aims to tap into the strengths and abilities of all involved on the support team, ensuring supports are student and family lead.
Increase Understanding of FASD
Students with FASD are sometimes noted to be “consistently inconsistent.” Prenatal alcohol exposure has impacted brain development and brain function; therefore, neural pathways can often be unpredictable and what might be okay for one day, may not be the next.
Structure is a valuable strategy to help refocus any inconsistencies, organize routines, and arrange a supportive pattern for daily tasks. Structure also offers a sense of predictability and security in situations that could potentially create confusion. Expectations are also essential to creating an environment that promotes structure. While expectations need to be consistent and clear, they also need to be realistic. Realistic and developmentally appropriate expectations are flexible and respond to the diverse learning needs of the student affected with FASD.
Supervision allows support persons to act as an external brain for students affected by FASD, while providing a safer space to learn appropriate behavior. Supervision can help to curb struggles with impulsivity and difficulties with memory, as it can provide on the spot responses to optimize learning. Supervision also reinforces routines and expectations, and in turn helps to bridge learning from one environment to another. Helpful tips for providing supervision:
- Provide gentle reminders, using nonverbal and/or verbal cues
- Allow for additional processing time after prompts and/or cues are given
- Structure free time – offer specific activities during free time
- Continue to supervise tasks even when they have demonstrated success
Identify Opportunities for Academic Support
A variety of recommendations are provided within assessment and diagnostic reports. Students with FASD often benefit from academic support strategies, and might even require modified or adapted school work. Information in assessment and diagnostic reports also create awareness and understanding of how prenatal alcohol exposure has impacted the student’s developing brain. The student may struggle with motor skills, speech and language, and executive functioning difficulties, which can make school more challenging at times. Assessment informs supports and individualized learning needs of students.