Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Towards Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in New Zealand Educators: An Online Survey
In 2021/2022, the School of Population Health at the National Institute for Health Innovation within the University of Auckland conducted a survey led by Joanna Chu, Jessica McCormack, Samantha Marsh and Chris Bullen. This report was released in May, 2022.
Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a common form of developmental disability but may be poorly understood by professionals working with people with FASD. The aim of the research is to understand the FASD knowledge, attitudes, awareness, and practices among people employed by the education sector in Aotearoa New Zealand and identify gaps in knowledge.
Methods: We conducted an online survey of New Zealand Education professionals. The survey focused on the following areas: awareness of FASD; knowledge and beliefs about FASD; impact of FASD on professional practice; and training needs.
Results: Of the 419 participants, most had some knowledge of FASD and its effects on learning; however, there are still gaps that need to be addressed so educators can provide support to individuals living with FASD.
Conclusion: There is a need to improve workforce capacity and develop guidelines that address the needs of front-of-line staff working with children with FASD in education settings.
Most New Zealand educators recognised that FASD is relevant to their work, however, very few had received training to be able to support individuals with FASD. Our findings suggest that more resources are needed to support educators so that they can meet the needs of students with FASD in their care. This includes education resources to help teachers understand FASD and the common challenges associated with FASD, as well as in-class support and specialist support so they can accommodate the needs of children with FASD. Additional surveillance of educator’s knowledge and attitudes should be conducted in order to evaluate the impact of resources and ensure that they are targeted to address the needs of educators over time.
The full report can be read here.