How to explain an FASD diagnosis to your child (booklet)

How to explain an FASD diagnosis to your child (booklet)This resource is an 8-page booklet providing tips for caregivers on explaining a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) to their child. It was created by CanFASD, a Canadian network focused on FASD prevention, diagnosis, intervention and support.

The booklet first provides a simple definition of FASD and notes it is a lifelong disability affecting many areas like learning, memory, and emotional regulation. It suggests caregivers take the free CanFASD online course to learn more about FASD.

Next, it acknowledges receiving an FASD diagnosis can cause mixed emotions in both caregiver and child. It notes the importance of answering children’s questions about their differences from peers.

Tips are then provided on explaining FASD in an age-appropriate way that empowers the child, such as:

  • Using simple analogies like comparing their brain to someone in a wheelchair.
  • Reinforcing their strengths and talents.
  • Reframing the diagnosis positively.
  • Explaining the birth mother’s circumstances compassionately.
  • Repeating explanations across various situations.
  • Reassuring the child they can still be happy and successful with the right supports.

Book recommendations are provided to help explain FASD. It concludes by validating grief is normal and seeking professional support if needed. The overall message is to have open, non-judgmental discussions to help the child understand and accept their diagnosis.


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