Focusing on Strengths
FASD is a unique disability that impacts everyone differently. While it is important to understand the ways in which an individual is impacted and what areas of brain functioning may be affected by prenatal alcohol exposure, it is equally important to understand the strengths of each individual.
When support a youth or adult with FASD, it is crucial to take a strength-based approach. When developing strategies to help an individual succeed the first step is to identify their strengths and create techniques for support that utilize these areas. Using strengths to overcome struggles will create a good fit in the between the individual’s abilities and their environment, which will make an incredible difference.
For example, individuals with FASD often showing amazing talents in areas of creativity. Here at the Network we have many clients who excel in areas of music, art, and creative writing. For clients who are artistically inclined, it might help to have them design their own routine charts or visual cues to aid their memory deficits. For musically inclined clients, suggesting that they write songs to remember the steps of certain tasks may help them. Individuals with FASD are often hands-on learners, which is another great strength that can be utilized. For example, if a child is struggling with math but loves playing with Lego trying to incorporate Lego into their math lessons can be a way of using their interests to teach them a new skill. Using a strength-based approach can be done by taking their interests and adapting them to aid the areas in which they struggle.
People with FASD are willing and able to learn when strategies match learning styles and build on strengths rather than deficits (Malbin, 2008).