Article: Supports for Students with an FASD
Getting the Support Your Child Needs
Most students with an FASD require accommodations or modifications to address their learning differences in school. Your child may be eligible for additional support in school through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.
The first step in receiving accommodations is to contact your school and request an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.
What is a Section 504 Plan?
A Section 504 Plan is for individuals with any disability. A student is determined to have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment affecting a body system.
What is an IEP?
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan for your child to receive specialized instruction and support in the classroom. There are 13 disabilities identified to determine eligibility for an IEP. FASD is currently not its own category, however, most youth with an FASD are eligible for an IEP under the Other Health Impairment category.
Working Together to Create a Plan for Success
A team approach is best when creating and implementing a plan for your child’s academic success. Depending on their age, the child should be encouraged to be involved in their own meetings to begin to learn self-advocacy skills. While a Section 504 Plan team may be defined more loosely, an IEP team must include the following:
- The child’s parent or caregiver
- At least one of the child’s general education teachers
- At least one special education teacher
- School psychologist or other specialists who can interpret evaluation results
- A district representative with authority over special education services
You can also include a personal care attendant (PCA), paraprofessional, representative from an advocacy organization or anyone you feel is a good advocate for your child and your family.
A Proof Alliance representative can attend plan meetings with you as well. Contact Roxanne.King@proofalliance.org for more information.
Here's What to Include in Your Child's IEP
Your child’s IEP should be specific and detailed, addressing the many aspects of your child’s school experience. Invite your child’s teacher to learn about FASD.
At a minimum, your child’s IEP or Section 504 Plan should cover:
- Homework accommodations
- Classroom modifications
- Social interaction
- Communication with parents and caregivers
When advocating for someone with an FASD, it can often feel like it’s you against the world. These tips can help you work collaboratively with all parties involved to find and implement the best solution for your child:
- Be polite, but direct. Losing your temper will only escalate the situation and you may be discredited by other parties
- Prepare for each meeting by reviewing notes from previous sessions, making note of items that need follow-up and writing down your questions
- Include the person you are supporting in your advocacy work, ensure that their desired outcomes are prioritized
- Be specific when stating a concern; share specific examples when possible
- Do your homework, learn about the process or the system
- Ask questions and be an active listener
- Identify the right people to voice your concern. Invest your time in decision-makers who can influence the situation
- Don’t take no for an answer, there are ways to appeal decisions in school systems, as well as county and state systems. Follow the process for complaints and appeals. Examples: