Back to School Series Wrap Up: Had I known then: A message to those in the school system

Over the past month, we have put together a series of posts related to school experiences for individuals with FASD, caregivers, and opportunities for FASD prevention in post-secondary school settings. To conclude our series, we have asked our newest staff member, Richard Mugford, to reflect on his experiences related to FASD and the school system.

“Had I known then what I know now.” This is a phrase that I have reflected on often during this last year.

The more I learn about FASD, the more I wish I had learned while I was working in the housing and homelessness sector. Had I known then what I know now…

I would have adjusted my expectations and reactions.

I would have increased my knowledge of FASD from the start and encouraged others to do the same.

I would have served all of the people in our programs to a higher standard.

I now have the opportunity, through my role at CanFASD, to provide a platform for professionals to increase their knowledge of FASD. I am creating online modules built from the most current research in the field. My first project is geared towards those working in the educational system, which is very exciting, as a supportive school setting can play a major role in positive life outcomes for all students, including those with FASD.

Whether you are aware of FASD in your school or not, increasing your knowledge and understanding of FASD is well worth the effort. An increase in knowledge amongst education professionals can:

  • Establish a basic philosophy of positive interaction and understanding of the core developmental needs of children
  • Foster positive working relationships between caregivers, school personnel, and allied professionals, enhancing understanding of the learning needs of students with FASD
  • Allow for flexible and accommodating approaches to teaching children with FASD
  • Lead to improved educational supports
  • Enhance collaboration between professionals, allowing for cohesive individualized program planning and meeting the complex needs of students with FASD

We know that educational professionals want to increase their knowledge of FASD, and the question becomes where to start? There is an abundance of information about FASD online, and deciphering information that is current versus outdated, or evidence-based versus opinion, can be difficult. Our hope is that the upcoming training module for educational professionals will clarify these questions and provide participants with solid foundational knowledge of FASD as it relates to the school system.

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