Establishing coping skills to deal with problems, stress or change has been hard enough for me throughout the years. To see how a person with FASD feels when confronted with change has given me a picture of how their everyday life must be because things can change from day to day and minute to minute. The importance of structure, of establishing a daily routine and maintaining both is shown in the example of the mother who rearranged the furniture in the living room so the next day her son, with FASD, forgot how to get to the bathroom so accidentally urinated on himself. Consistency as a parent or teacher in many fazes of our lives is necessary because it provides the structure which is needed to maintain control. With so much to do and not enough time shows us the importance of developing positive habits and or patterns for our daily routines to help us keep our lives organized no matter who we are.
As you can see by the above paragraph I was mistaken about the fact that structure is needed to maintain control. With more understanding and as is explained in this chapter control focuses on the outcome and doesn’t allow for flexibility in the path or the destination and structure instead is the framework that supports positive behavior. So structure is what’s needed for families with FASD this allows the student to move ahead through the process of learning without fearing failure. If the student has difficulty along the way or even try’s and fails then the structure can be adjusted. Children learn step by step no matter who they are some just learn easier, some faster, some fall short of the learning curve and may need a little help and for those with FASD they need a structured environment with the student being given more time to grasp the concept, repetitive teaching and with the teacher trying different approaches when teaching a concept.
Coping with change whether were an adult or a child can prove disruptive to our lives. We find change disorienting, creating within us an anxiety similar to culture shock, similar to an alien in a foreign land. It occurred to me that while we may not like change but we can't keep it from happening. What can we do? We can choose how we react but a person with FASD doesn’t have the ability to adapt at least not well without being forewarned of the impending change. Both parents and teachers alike need to inform the child of the change to their daily schedule to help them understand and then give clear, concise and concrete instructions on how they need to prepare for the change. I liked the suggested teaching aides and can see how they could assist both the teacher and the student. A visual schedule could help the student understand the daily, weekly and monthly activities. Also color coding activity materials could help the child understand the activity and with instruction accomplish the task without becoming overly frustrated. With great patience and understanding both parents and educators can help the child succeed in school which prepares them for adulthood.