10 tips for FASD-informed work

Ten ways to modify frontline policing practices to be FASD-informed:

  1. Slow down.
  2. When offering instructions or delivering commands, do so step-by-step.
  3. Use plain and concise language.
  4. Avoid abstract language and metaphors. People with FASD are concrete thinkers. Explain things as clearly as possible.
  5. Test for understanding by asking the individual to explain in their own words their understanding of what is happening.
  6. Modify the setting if the individual appears to be distracted.
  7. Individuals with FASD are often visual thinkers and learners. If you are having problems communicating with words, try using pictures.
  8. Translate complex ideas or documents into understandable terms. For example, explain a bail condition in plain language versus relying on template documents that can be confusing.
  9. Individuals with FASD may not understand their Charter rights or other rights when notified in language that is complex for them. Use plain language to explain these rights in plain language while upholding these same rights and freedoms.
  10. Discretion is a key resource in an officer’s toolbox. Use it strategically. Individuals with FASD are often experiencing multiple challenges that are more effectively addressed outside the justice system, for example through involvement of social services or health supports.

Download a one-page PDF of our 10 tips for FASD-informed work in PDF