Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Australian education system: Knowledge, attitudes, needs and practices
What is this research about?
Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) experience complex cognitive and behavioural difficulties that have significant and long-lasting impacts on social, family, and school functioning. While educational contexts represent a key setting for early intervention and support for FASD, little is known about the way that FASD is recognised and managed within the Australian education system.
Moreover, while it is recognised that children with FASD experience similar impairments to children with other neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there is limited understanding of the similarities and differences between the educational needs of students with FASD and ASD.
Understanding the needs of students with FASD and the knowledge, needs, and practices of the educators that support them is necessary to:
Inform the development of classroom interventions and identify relevant intervention targets.
Support the dissemination of management strategies for students with FASD in schools.
Inform workforce development initiatives. In addition, understanding the comparative needs of students with FASD and ASD can help to inform the implementation of transdiagnostic vs disorder specific models of intervention and workforce development.
The primary aim of this study is to examine knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to FASD and its implications for the classroom, among primary and secondary school staff working in Catholic and Independent Schools in Western Australia. In addition, the aim of this research is to examine school staff perspectives of the needs of students with FASD, and to compare needs of students with FASD with the needs of students with ASD.
These aims will be achieved by:
conducting an online survey of staff in Catholic and Independent schools in Australia, using a random sample of schools drawn from a national sampling frame
comparing outcomes with data collected in the Autism CRC Education Needs Analysis survey
For the purposes of this project, school staff include school administrators (principals), classroom teachers, specialist staff (school psychologists and school counsellors) and ancillary staff (e.g. Aboriginal community education officers, Aboriginal and Islander education officers, education assistants, teaching assistants and classroom support officers).
Funder of this Project
FASD Research Australia from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centres of Research Excellence grant
Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism, University of Queensland
Who is doing this research?
Professor Carol Bower - Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Dr Amy Finlay-Jones - Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Dr Roslyn Giglia - Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Dr Beth Saggers - Queensland University of Technology, Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism, Queensland, Australia