Supports 4 Student Success

Supports for students are most effective when they are relationally-based. Relationally-based support is a universal strategy that benefits all children and youth, especially those living with FASD. Encouraging and supportive relationships with teachers and mentors in the school environment contribute to a positive school experiences for students living with FASD. Supporting students with FASD begins with an understanding FASD as a brain-based disability and a medical diagnosis, which ultimately informs the strategies for successful interventions.


Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke

8 Magic Keys for student success and successful interventions include:

More information on the “8 Magic Keys” can be found on the WRaP Schools YouTube Channel, where each magic key is described in more detail in short videos

Additional information can also be found in the Supports 4 Student Success Toolkits.


Strategies are unique to each student and while they might be effective one day, the next day the strategy may be as effective at all. Therefore, it is essential to constantly adjust and respond to the student in the present moment, and not just what worked yesterday. Much of the complexity with working alongside students with FASD is that they are consistently inconsistent. Some strategies that can be helpful include:

  • 1. Focus on relationship – relationally based supports are fundamental to a positive working relationship
  • 2. Limit choices to 2 – any more than 2 choices can make it difficult to choose
  • 3. Say what you need to say in 5 seconds or 10 words – any longer and the speaker may be overwhelming the student with their words
  • 4. Name first, then directions – it is important to capture their attention before giving directions, we cannot remember directions we don’t hear
  • 5. Ask what you want, not what you don’t want – directions are most effective when we ask for the behavior we would like to see, otherwise students could be confused by the lack of specific and concrete instruction
  • 6. Encourage helper roles – establishing a sense of community in the school environment fosters a sense of connection and belonging for the student, as well as tapping into their strengths and capacities/
  • 7. Offer structured breaks – providing structure during unstructured times minimizes boredom and the unsure feeling of what to do next, in addition to supporting positive social interactions
  • 8. Think about the function of the behaviour – behaviour often communicates an unmet need which acts as a clue that something needs to be adjusted

Looking for more strategies? Additional information can also be found in the Supports 4 Student Success Toolkits.


Access to online resources also helps to deepen our understanding of FASD and answer questions about particular vulnerabilities and strategies for support. Some online supports include:

For more detailed information on Supports 4 Students, click on the link below for access to the Supports for Student Success Toolkits.

Download the Supports 4 Students Toolkit