About the Book

Guided Growth: Educational Interventions for Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Read a sample from the book – Introduction: A State of Paradox

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One of the greatest challenges teachers and parents face today is the increasing number of children who do not respond to traditional instructions and classroom management techniques.  Chief among the children who present such a challenge are those who were prenatally exposed to alcohol and illicit drugs.  In the past twenty years, we have learned more and more about these children and the lives of chaos and daily change many of them face.  The difficulty has been translating this growing body of knowledge into practical information teachers can use in the classroom and parents can use at home.

But there is good news.  We now have research-based information that can guide schools and families in their efforts to address the needs of prenatally exposed children by developing appropriate interventions for behavioral and learning problems.  This serial e- book incorporates the latest research-based information into a guide designed for teachers, parents, physicians, psychologists – for anyone who works with children.  We recognize that in many (if not most) cases, you will not even know the child was exposed to alcohol or drugs before birth.  But the strategies we propose are appropriate for any child whose behavioral difficulties do not respond to standard interventions.


Throughout this book, we will ask you to shift your perceptions of the substance-exposed child from one who is willfully disobedient to one whose central nervous system may have been affected by alcohol or drugs crossing the placenta during pregnancy.  We will describe patterns of behavior exhibited by many of the exposed children in a variety of research studies, but we will caution you to remember that all children are unique and that there is a wide range of home and school factors that influence the behavior of any child. We will take a developmental approach in describing the impact of prenatal exposure on the long-term outcome of the child, starting in the newborn period and following the child through school age.  Also, although our emphasis is on alcohol, we recognize that almost all children reported to have been exposed prenatally to drugs, whether legal or illegal, also were exposed to alcohol, so that the interventions will work with this population of children, also.  Finally, we will use actual cases from our experience to provide an “anchor” to our learning approach.