Supporting the Transition Back to School

Your child or youth has attended the FASD Clinic… NOW WHAT ?!?!
Firstly, it is important to know that confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure does not assume a diagnosis. Specific diagnostic criteria, impairment in 3 or more brain domains, must still be met. Brain domains which are explored in the assessment and diagnosis of FASD include: (1) Motor skills, (2) Neuroanatomy/Neurophysiology, (3) Cognition, (4) Language, (5) Academic achievement, (6) Memory, (7) Attention, (8) Executive Function, including impulse control, (9) Affect regulation, (10) Adaptive behavior, social skills, or social communication.2 After the FASD assessment, your child or youth will have likely received a diagnosis of FASD or No FASD.

YOUR CHILD OR YOUTH IS DIAGNOSED WITH FASD

As a result of meeting diagnostic criteria, your child or youth has been given a medical diagnosis of FASD. Due to the comprehensive nature of the FASD assessment process, the multi-disciplinary team also has the opportunity to determine other possible areas of struggle for your child or youth; for example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), specific learning disorder, expressive or receptive language delay. The thorough assessment allows schools an opportunity to pursue appropriate coding for their students and ensure access to specific support services which promote success in the school environment.

Clinic reports… The caregivers/guardians are typically provided with a clinic summary report (which includes recommendations) after attending the post-clinic conference on the second day of the FASD Clinic. As the caregivers/guardians, it is your responsibility to share the report with the school, and with your consent, the clinic will also be able to share reports and information with the school. The reports completed by FASD Clinic team help to enable more informed support, in addition to providing a more detailed understanding of your child or youth’s strengths and brain-based vulnerabilities. There is valuable information in the assessment reports that can help to inform school programming for your child or youth so their individual learning needs can be supported.

Brain-based disability… A successful transition back to school is grounded in the understanding of FASD as a brain-based disability and reframing behavior as a way for your child or youth to communicate their challenges in the school environment. The summary report is a great place to begin supporting your child or youth through the lens of FASD. A composite report will be shared with you and the school (with your consent) at a later date, containing more detailed reports from the multi-disciplinary team on your child or youth’s functioning.

YOUR CHILD OR YOUTH IS NOT DIAGNOSED WITH FASD

In cases where your child or youth does not receive a diagnosis of FASD, caregiver/guardians and schools can often be at a loss for what the next steps are. Due to the comprehensive nature of the FASD assessment process, the multi-disciplinary team also had the opportunity to determine if there are other possible areas of struggle for the student; for example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), specific learning disorder, expressive or receptive language delay. The thorough assessment allows schools an opportunity to pursue appropriate coding for students and identify specific services which can support your child or youth to experience success in the school environment.

Clinic outcomes… The caregivers/guardians are typically provided with a clinic summary report (which includes recommendations) after attending the post-clinic conference on the second day of the FASD Clinic. As the caregivers/guardians, it is your responsibility to share the report with the school, and with your consent, the clinic will also be able to share reports and information with the school. The reports completed by FASD Clinic team help to enable more informed support, which can help to inform school programming for your child or youth so their individual learning needs can be supported.

It can be very important to share the outcome of your your child or youth’s assessment with the school support team, even when they are not diagnosed with FASD. Despite the outcome, the assessment process has enabled the multi-disciplinary team an opportunity to learn more about the child or youth’s individual strengths and challenges, identify other possible diagnoses, and the ability to offer specific recommendations.

A successful transition back to school is grounded in the understanding that not all individual’s who are prenatally exposed to alcohol will meet the criteria for the diagnosis of FASD. If your child or youth was not diagnosed with FASD, it is still important that the school support team learns the outcomes of the assessment to integrate into their program plan. The summary report is a great place to begin adjusting the support plan for your child or youth. A composite report will also be shared at a later date, containing detailed reports from the multi-disciplinary team on your child or youth’s functioning.

AFTER CLINIC: SUPPORTING THE TRANSITION BACK TO SCHOOL

Once the outcome of the FASD assessment and diagnostic clinic is received, it is a good opportunity for caregivers/guardians to connect with the school their school professionals to build a team of support around you and your child or youth, if this hasn’t already occurred. Diagnosis of FASD can be very challenging and emotional for your child or youth, but also for caregivers and guardians. As part of the transition back to school after attending the FASD Clinic, it can be helpful for a designated person from the school support team to hold a meeting with yourself, school administration, school staff, district consultants, school support staff who work with your child or youth, to discuss the results of the FASD assessment.

Collaboration and partnerships…Meeting as a collaborative group will help to create a plan for your child or youth, in order to best support them at school. Sharing which community resources you are connected with or in the process of connecting with can also help the school be more informed about your own support team. Supporting the well-being of your child or youth is the ultimate goal, and this is best done in an environment that promotes strong supportive relationships and partnerships. WRaP Success Coaches are great resources for families and schools during this transition time, in addition to the WRaP Transition Facilitator who serves the greater Edmonton area supporting transitions from the FASD Clinic at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

Is there a WRaP Success Coach working in my school district?



There isn’t a WRaP Success Coach in my school district, but our student attended the FASD Clinic at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.



There isn’t a WRaP Success Coach in my school or school district, but I would like to learn more about the WRaP Project and how to get connected with a WRaP Success Coach.

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