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Article: Adolescence and Transition

Adolescence and Transition: Accommodations and Modifications

With the right accommodations and modifications, people with an FASD can reach their full potential. Students age 14–21 who receive special education services are entitled to transition planning through their school.

Services You're Entitled To

Students age 14–21 who receive special education services are entitled to transition planning through their school.

These services help students with disabilities prepare for post-secondary educational settings, work or other life skills they may need after high school.

You and your IEP team will work together to develop goals for this transition. The transition plan should focus on the student’s strengths and interests.

A completed transition plan will include components like:

  • Instruction
  • Related services
  • Community experiences
  • Development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives
  • The acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation, when appropriate

Students are eligible to receive transition services until the summer after they turn 21. The plan should be reviewed annually.

To discuss your child’s transition plan, connect with the support team at Proof Alliance. Our team is here to walk you through it.

Providing Support

Ages 14-21

Modify the Learning Environment

When someone has an FASD, their brain functions differently. We can’t change that, but we can make simple changes to their environment.

These modifications can help students with an FASD be at their best:

  • As much as possible, try to keep their environment calm and quiet; avoid bright colors and busy patterns
  • Limit visual distractions (for example, avoid busy wall or ceiling hangings)
  • Consider natural lighting. Fluorescent lighting may hum or flicker which can be distracting for children with sensory processing disorders. Natural lighting may be tolerated better
  • Position the child’s desk away from high-traffic areas like doorways, pencil sharpeners, drinking fountains, etc.
  • Allow alternative options to busy areas to avoid overstimulation, for example, find an alternative spot for lunch to avoid a busy cafeteria during lunchtime
  • Designate a quiet area they can retreat to when they’re feeling overstimulated
  • Covering cabinets and shelving with curtains can help minimize distractions
  • Define spaces for specific activities like playing and eating; room dividers may be useful in creating different spaces within the room
  • Label storage areas with descriptive words or pictures of what’s stored inside.
  • Avoid places that are crowded or loud
  • Invite them to be a teacher’s assistant so they have more interaction with their teacher
Tools for Self-Regulation

Simply put, self-regulation is a skill that allows people to manage their emotions, behavior and body movement.

Here are some tools that can help an adolescent learner with an FASD to self-regulate:

  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Weighted blanket
  • Fidgets
  • Designated sensory-safe place
  • Alternative seating
  • Emotional support animal
Support During Transitions

Students with an FASD thrive in a structured environment with a predictable daily schedule. Daily structure and consistency will improve academic outcomes.

That’s why, with a consistent and reliable routine, they are better able to focus on learning.

  • Use visual and verbal cues to indicate when transitions are coming
  • Changes in routine are often difficult for students with an FASD. Avoid them if possible.
Understand the Brain Differences

FASD is an invisible disability, meaning an individual with FASD won’t likely have any differences that are visible on the outside. That’s why people often have higher expectations of them than what’s reasonable.

Understanding how their brain differences impact their functioning can help you set realistic expectations and create opportunities for success:

  • Technology safety is an important area to address for adolescent students with an FASD. Decrease risk by limiting access and providing supervision when using the internet or technology
  • Deliver lessons in different ways, using a range of learning style (visual, kinesthetic, auditory, etc.)
  • Reinforce messages with repetition and role-playing
  • Be patient and allow extra time for processing and responding
  • When a particular action or behavior is not permissible, offer alternatives
  • Avoid asking a student why they’ve displayed an adverse behavior. Allow the student time and space to “cool down”
  • Use clear, simple language and provide concrete examples when  giving instructions or explaining concepts
  • Instead of multi-step tasks, break it down so steps are presented one-by-one
  • Create realistic expectations about homework and testing
  • Invite them to be a teacher’s assistant so they have more interaction with their teacher
  • Provide support in social situations. Adolescents with an FASD are often the subject of bullying. Be vigilant and aware of peer conflicts