Monday, May 4, 2009

A letter

to little man's daycare..

Little man  has been in the care of myself and my husband for a little under two weeks.  Lil man has been diagnosed with Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Below is some helpful advice on caring for a child with FAS.

Fetal Alcohol syndrome is caused by being exposed to alcohol while in the womb. The primary symptoms of prenatal alcohol damage are:

  • Poor Impulse Control
  • Poor Judgment
  • Immature or Inappropriate Behavior
  • Small birth weight
  • Growth deficiency for height or weight
  • Characteristic face
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Tremors
  • Hyper-activity
  • Fine or gross motor problems
  • Learning difficulties
  • Developmental delays
  • Behavioral problems - mood swings, defensive and stubborn, lack of self-discipline, genuine innocence, detached attitude

The symptoms highlighted above are the ones that pertain to Lil man . Because there is no physical evidence of FAS in Lil many people tend to think he is a “bad boy”, this is not the case. Lil man does not learn in the same fashion as typical child.

There is no cure for FAS, the damage that was caused to Lil mans brain is permanent.

· Children with FAS may forget to return to class after break, bring their personal belongings home, or even eat their meals at school. Strategies used by some professionals include hand signals, visual clues, pairing the child with another, one word/one task teaching, and adaptive learning tools.

· Structure is important for the child with FAS. Directions should be clear, concise, consistent, and simple. Often times, it is beneficial to have the child repeat the instructions to ensure that they have been correctly understood.

· Children with FAS many times have attention deficits. Therefore, eye contact should be made while speaking, the child should be placed away from potential distractions, hand signals can be used to remind the student to stay focused, and assignments should be broken apart into manageable pieces.

· Organization skills are important for everyone, but may be difficult for children with FAS. A notebook should be used with parents as a general mode of communication, and the routine that the child has in class should be consistent.

· Social skills are sometimes lacking in children with FAS. Therefore, they often times need assistance in developing and maintaining friendships. Teachers can help the child by pairing him/her with a supportive student during group activities.

At home we are working with lil man  on the following:

· Making eye contact when being spoken to or speaking to someone.

· Using words to communicate instead of whining or speaking in a derogatory tone.

· Using proper grammar

· Self help skills: putting on own shoes, cleaning up after himself, remembering to wash hands after using the restroom. Etc.

· Sharing toys

· Playing with other children instead of alongside them.

· No “picking” at his sores. We tell him “to be nice to his body, and rub his sores, not pick them”

· We model appropriate behaviors and give Lil man  suggestions on how to act out his feelings without using anger.

Positive reinforcement, redirection, and time out seem to work best for Lil man. He needs a strict environment with constant reminders. “In ten minutes we are going to clean up the toys, and read a story”.

Forcing him to participate if he does not want to makes his behavior worse. If he does not wish to participate we carry on with the activity as normal, and do not feed into his ‘negativity”

Lil man hides under things often we feel he does this when he is scared, over stimulated or mad because he did not get his way. Generally we try to ignore the hiding unless he is causing him to himself or someone else.

Because of his developmental delays Lil man needs to be reminded to use the bathroom often. If it has been more than 2 hours since he last went, he needs to be “made” to use the restroom or he will wet himself.

We are working with a Speech therapist, Occupational therapist, as well as the ped., and a psychiatrist.

It would be greatly appreciated if you only share this information with the teachers who will be involved in Lil man's care. Including those who fill in when Mrs. B is out of the room. Thanks for taking the time to read this information Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask myself or my Husband.


  1. Karen, I think the letter is very straightforward and informative. I hope it enables the teachers to better care for lil man. (well, it's so plain and well-put that if it DOESN'T help the teacher is a moron.)

  2. I am new to your blog - and I just want to tell you that I LOVE that letter. I wish I'd done something like that when my Little dude was starting daycare.