MAKING SENSE OF SUPPORT SERVICES FOR DEVELOPMENT AND LEARNING
Getting help to meet your child’s developmental and learning needs can be a difficult task. The FASD Clinic at UCSD/Rady Children’s Hospital has an Education Specialist who can help families work with local agencies to get the right support services for their child. The kinds of services that are available depend on the age of your child.
• Birth to 3 years
Early intervention can make a huge difference for children with FASD. If your child is at risk for or has a developmental delay, you may be able to get help from local agencies that provide services to young children with special needs. This can include help finding the right day care environment or other interventions such as occupational therapy to help with sensory issues. As a part of the early intervention process an Individualized Family Service Plan may be developed that explains your child’s needs and strengths, goals for making progress, and the services you and your child will receive to reach those goals.
• From 3 years to Adulthood
Most education and developmental services for children from age 3 years to adulthood are coordinated by a local education agency, usually a school district. The school district uses an Individualize Education Plan (IEP) to document your child’s strengths and needs, goals, and services. This plan can include goals for learning in school, but it can also include support for life- and social-skills and, if appropriate, counseling services. For children age 16 years or older, the IEP will also include a transition plan to help you and your child set goals and prepare for life after high school. Those plans may include college, job training, and/or independent living skills.
Getting services for children and young adults living with FASD can be challenging. Often, we have to educate the service providers about FASD and the specific challenges a child may be facing. The education specialist at the FASD Clinic can provide materials, attend meetings, and arrange training sessions for educators and other professionals who work with your child in order to help them understand your child better.