The FASD Trust
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Need advice from those in the know!

Hi all, i have a couple of ongoing concerns with my daughters and my friends and family although fantastic don't have the experience you guys do with fasd!

Firstly Shaughna, she doesn't appear to know how to play, can't entertain herself or talk about what she enjoys doing, all she wants to do all the time is look at minecraft video's on you tube, she's not even really bothered about pkaying the game! Obviously i need to limit screen time but she just doesn't know what to do with herself and will wander around aimlessly until given a specific task to do,. She also have severe memory problems and cannot remember eating etc so notsure if thats part of it, any idea how to help her?

Secondly Beth, she is very hard to manage at the moment, cannot deal with being asked to do something like set the table, tidy up or get ready for bed, these are all major flash points, we stick to a consistent routine but she is a nightmare, wants to be doing what she wants, when she wants, how she wants without challenge, she constantly demands attention and needs to be the centre of attention all the time, but as we have two children with fasd thats not always possible, she manipulates, lies constantly and becomes aggressive when challenged. I really don't want to get into a situation where our family dynamic revolves around her because i don't feel like that is preparing her for life outside of the home.

I should probably say they are 9!

So there you go, two completely different problems but any advice would be greatly appreciated x x

5 Replies

With S you have to show her how to play; you need to give her specific games or activities and tell her how to do them. Over time she will eventually learn how to play games or do activities herself, but at this age you are going to have to show her and initially do them with her.

With B, you are asking her possibly to do too much. So, break down the instructions for the task into specific steps. So, no point saying "tidy up". You need to say put those bricks in that box; or not "set the table", but "Put these spoons on the table".

You have to ignore them shouting at you and very calmly repeat the request. Have you had their receptive language levels checked? Generally, their level of understanding is half their age and their processing speed is much slower so repeat the instruction clearly and calmly.

Hope this helps - am sure others might have some tips too.


Thank you for the reply, they both have auditory processing difficulties and are waiting for a more indepth assessment by SALT, We do play with S, normal toys, lego, board games but obviously in a family there are times when she needs to entertain herself!! I guess with B i just need to keep calm and keep trying, not easy when she's screaming at me and consequences have no effective! !


Everything you describe with both girls are all classic FASD symptoms. As previously stated they are probably functioning at half their chronological age and will likely only understand half of what you say to them so keep instructions brief and specific. Repetition is vital so routines are good but also give warning when something is going to change. I say things like ' drink your milk, then bath time' or 'brush teeth then bed.' This helps them anticipate what they are expected to do. As far as watching YouTube goes my little one is also obsessed with that and I use a timer so when it runs out he knows no more iPad.

Our kids do require lots of attention and struggle to play alone so guidance, teaching, repetition, patience and remaining calm is all really important. Tough to do at times I know. I hope this helps. Good luck.


Hi there,

As discussed, their level of understanding/behaviour are roughly half their age, so you have to keep in your mind that you are supporting two 'four and a half year old' children. At this age, they do need direction, supervision and constant reminders and this is what works, although difficult to remember when they look so much bigger! So keep reminding yourself of this important factor.

Also, direct them both into separate activities to reduce any negative interactions between the children (ie 4 yr olds not particularly good at sharing, taking turns etc).

No amount of explanations or standard parenting techniques (time out etc) will improve child' B's aggressive behaviour or lies, manipulating etc, so don't waste your time and energy on this approach, what works much better is to realise that all the above stem from when your child gets overwhelmed. NB Kids with FAS get overwhelmed very easily (ie with the slightest pressure). Therefore, aim to keep everything low key ie. demands low ie. instead of tidy your room, request that she just puts the few toys away (and leaves the rest till tomorrow), again with bed time for example, a countdown to bedtime is given rather than a blunt 'bedtime' which is too overwhelming for them (kids with FAS do not like transition times). Equally, excitement needs to be kept low, as this is equally overstimulating/overwhelming. So everything on a low, calm simmer.

Also, ensure school understand the above, unless they do, your child will become overwhelmed in school too and you may find yourself coping with the repercussions of children who are too overstimulated/overwhelmed at the end of the school day.

I hope this helps.


Hi. Only have time for a quick comment coz can't leave my two (two girls with FASD also) alone together - you know how it is ;)

Just to say, I do know the frustration and despair with the utter defiance etc... It's very challenging at times. I found the single most helpful thing for me as a parent was to find a way to be comfortable with how the girls behaved and a way to feel like we were making progress.

Can I recommend the The Nurtured Heart Approach. Howard Glasser. Check it out on You Tube. Get the book: Transforming the difficult child. I found that the attitude and techniques taught in this approach were just what I needed to feel like I was being an effective parent to these girls! Bare in mind I am a very confident and experienced mum of four birth children before the two adopted girls and two of the birth kids have ASD. So I had lots of experience of parenting children with extra needs. But nothing I had learned before worked with the girls :) But this approach gave me a new way in. And made me a lot more positive and cheerful rather than grumpy and complaining ;)

Highly recommended :) !


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