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Adult and child with FASD smiling behind inflatable picture frame

Frequently Asked Questions

My child seems angry and has extreme behaviours, what can we do?

In the moment, the first thing to do is breathe deep yourself. Understand that people with FASD have trouble processing words, instructions, sensory inputs. When their anxieties increase, their impulse control decreases. They can become dysregulated. When things are escalating it helps to slow everything down. Use less words. Say only what you want them to do. Leave 30-45 seconds for them to process. Stay close but give them space if you can safely do so.  Reassure them that it’s ok, you love them. When the fight/flight part of their brain is engaged, this is not a time to reason to try to explain things. That can come later when they have self-regulated.

Longer-term – it’s possible to work on long-term strategies to decrease tensions and anxieties, to get to a point where the person with FASD can identify when they are escalating and you can both suggest some calming strategies. Start by identifying an area in your house as a ‘calm space’ – with some favourite sensory toys, and help guide your loved one there when they begin to escalate. It’s critical this is not done as a punishment but as a positive.

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