School exclusion

Exclusion from school is highly traumatic for rangatahi with FASD – for anyone in fact. But for those with neurodiversity, the extra level of trauma can mean that's its harder to get them back into school and from there it's even harder to get a job. The young person's options and outlook can become bleak – so it's best to avoid exclusion if at all possible.


• In September 2022, we ran a webinar presented by Cherryl Waerea-i-te-rangi Smith (Nga Wairiki/Ngati Apa), a grandmother raising a 16 year old mokopuna who has a diagnosis of FASD. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Auckland and works as a researcher. You can watch a recording of her personal story about reinstating a mokopuna after being excluded from school here

• There is an Aotearoa-based website which has a number of resources for those experiencing, or trying to avoid exclusion, called Exclusion to Inclusion Aotearoa NZIt includes digital presentations which discuss behaviour using a brain-based approach and identifies trauma-informed strategies which educators can use to support inclusion. There are also short films of rangatahi talking about what the impact of being excluded has been on their wellbeing. This video will be helpful to individuals, their whānau, schools, Boards of Trustees, and people who work with tamariki and rangatahi.

• Here is a full list of your rights as well as much more practical information on the government's education website.

Note: we understand that school is not for everyone. If there is a member of your whānau who is able to home-school, this can be a very good outcome for some (more info on home education here). Other options exist too, such as special schools or work-bridge scenarios. We are working on putting together a list of these.