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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.39 n.3 Pretoria Dec. 2009




How teachers can manage attention span and activity level difficulties due to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the classroom: An occupational therapy approach



Evelien M.S. AssinkI; Bianca J. RouwelerII; Marie-Antoinette H. MinisIII; Lucia Hess-AprilIV

IBHS (Bachelor of Health Science); Scio Consult, The Netherlands
IIBHS (Bachelor of Health Science); Rehabilationcentre Groot Klimmendaal, The Netherlands
IIIMScOT (Master of Science Occupational Therapy); University of Arnhem and Nijmegen Department of Occupational Therapy
IVMScPH (Master of Science Public Health); University of the Western Cape, Department of Occupational Therapy





Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a disorder that can occur in a child whose mother consumed excessive amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. Children with FAS experience physical, cognitive and/ or behavioural problems, with possible life long implications1.
Principles of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) were used to identify methods that teachers could use to stimulate the development of learners with FAS in the classroom. The project took place at a school in Genadendal, South Africa where teachers experienced difficulties with learners who presented with developmental delay due to FAS.
Through observations, interviews and assessments of the learners, multiple problems were determined of which activity level and attention span problems were prioritised. A literature search was carried out to identify intervention strategies which could be applied in a classroom setting. Compensatory strategies were chosen and divided into adaptations of person, environment and occupation. Teachers were trained in these strategies through a workshop which was supplemented with a sourcebook.

Key words: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, developmental delay, occupational therapy, compensatory strategies, teachers



“Full text available only in PDF format”




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Evelien M.S. Assink
Keulenstraat 4L
Postbus 2I32
The Netherlands
003I (0)570-677I74

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