Whānau and caregivers in Aotearoa have little option but to be prepared to advocate tirelessly for their child at school – the great benefits of engaging closely with teachers and other educational professionals are well-documented and sadly there are still few clear pathways in our schools that take FASD into account.
From our own experiences, it's enormously important to take time to set up your tamariki at every level of school to enable them to avoid upsets and conflict, achieve their potential and become a valuable member of society.
If this is accomplished at a young age, the better the outcome is for them getting to high school and staying there – but if behavioural problems in early teenage years lead to exclusion from school there's a high chance that things may track badly for your rangatahi in their late teens.
Having said that, once everyone enabled to communicate and work positively together to identify strengths, create positive environments and healthy expectations, amazing successes can occur!
The best resource we have come across in terms of helping whanau and caregivers in Aotearoa to advocate for their FASD children comes from Western Australia Development Disability Council.
It covers issues such as:
- building relationships with schools and teachers
- creating a profile of strengths and challenges for your tamariki or rangatahi
- managing their paperwork
- problem solving
- mastering meetings, including the psychology of being assertive and/or persuasive!
Download 'Learning How to Advocate for your Child at School' here.