Day 32 of 99 Days to FASDay: Do Consequences Work with FASD?


From an article on the FASD Waterloo Region website:

A shift in thinking is needed when working along side those diagnosed under FASD.  Typical behaviour management strategies don’t work. Remember children diagnosed with FASD won’t learn from consequences. Sending them to their room or taking away a privilege may give the caregiver immediate satisfaction or relief but it will not have an impact on the child’s behaviour. Remember this is a brain based invisible physical disability and not intentional behaviour. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals affected by FASD do not grow out of the disability.

Some thoughts from Maryann, a mom and advocate:

The consequence needs to happen immediately after unwanted behaviour in order to be effective and help the individual grow, teaching them to “control” their impulses.

Most often behaviour/incidents occur because of impulsivity or the individual not understanding the long term affect of their actions.

Don’t give up on their ability to learn from their mistakes, because they do have the ability – it just takes them longer than most.

But have faith and keep persevering, consistency is key!

It’s all about accommodations. Discovering why the behaviour happened and trying to reduce the likelihood of it being repeated. A great visual to keep in mind:


Come Over To suggests this behaviour environmental adaptation model, by Teresa Kellerman:

The 15 BEAM Rules of FASD Behavior Management also known as the Fasstar Trek Model


  1. Brain Damage from FASD is permanent and unchanging and impacts directly on behavior.
  2. Environment must be modified in order to see changes in the child’s behavior.
  3. Attitude toward child should be positive and gentle to prevent frustration and depression.
  4. Medications that work are a combination of a stimulant like Adderall and an SSRI like Paxil.
  5. Meals provided should be additive free; avoid aspartame, preservatives, and red coloring.
  6. Expectations should be realistic.  Adjust your expectations to match child’s ability to function.
  7. Understand that FASD behaviors are primarily a matter of brain dysfunction.
  8. Punishments like spanking or slapping should be avoided to prevent aggression and violence.
  9. Supervision needs to be intensified; many children with FASD require 24/7 monitoring.
  10. Consequences may not be effective but should be applied immediately and consistently.
  11. One-a-day vitamins with minerals and B6 and B12 and extra C and E will ensure nutrition.
  12. Time out can be a good coping tool for learning to self-calm, but should not be a punishment.
  13. Tough love usually does not work, because the child is not capable of making wise choices.
  14. Individualize the behavior plan to fit the unique needs of each child.  Not all rules will apply.
  15. Educate yourself about FASD, teach providers, teachers, family members, especially the child.

A recent workshop I was at about supporting adults with FASD, had Colette Philcox, an adult with FASD, relate her experience growing up. When asked what advice she would give to parents and caregivers for older teens/young adults, she suggested to let them explore and make mistakes, but not to ever be too far away to provide support when asked.

There is still lots more to learn and discover as we make our way through our 99 day journey.