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  • Basic education
  • OT/PT/ speech
  • Life skills
  • Chores
  • FASD education
  • Disability specific
  • Social skills
  • Job
  • Clubs
  • PE
  • Projects
  • Real life
  • Possibly driver training (see Driving)
  • Wheel To Success

The first time I went to visit the head of Special-Ed for our school district I asked him how long I needed to keep trying to teach one of our children the difference between nouns and pronouns. After looking over our child’s records he told me,  “The sooner you quit the better off he would be and the less likely he would go to prison.” He went on to explain that we were probably just frustrating child and frustrated children are more likely to get into trouble. That this child would probably not be able to learn the difference plus even if he was it wouldn’t really be relevant to his life, that we needed to teach life skills like skills and skills.

That was over 10 years ago, my wife and I are still trying to learn that lesson. Just the other day my wife and I were talking about one of her children who is mentally retarded and has scoliosis, in organizing her day it really is a higher priority for her to do physical therapy than academics. She does both. The reason I developed the Wheel To Success was to give us a focal point for what I consider to be an ideal school program for persons with FASD. After starting into it I realized that it was much more than just a school program. It is a teaching program that should be used in the home even for those in public school.

Home schooling: It is certainly not for everyone, but for some it can be a wonderful option.

IEP’s can be a very useful tool. I know parents who have it written into their child’s IEP that there will be no homework. They say that academics are such a struggle for their child that at home they want to work on relationships and other parts of life. I also know parents who want their child to have homework because it gives them a structure, which they feel is important in their child’s life and it is important for the functioning of their home. I once was involved in writing and IEP for a Senior who simply could not do the academics at school. Her IEP stated that she would be graded for participation in the classroom, not for whether or not she got the answers correct. It ended up working incredibly well and she proudly graduated with her class. Frankly it was just as effective of a program as anything else that she was willing to do.

Leaving home: Try to convince them not to leave home until they are developmentally ready and have a plan.

Physical exercise can really help their brain to develop. It can also help them, as one child put it, get their energy out. In other words wear them out so they do not have as much energy to get into trouble with. Much more will be said about this in the future on our website under “A Radical Approach”

Below are examples of three different educational plans. All three of these were used as senior plans for home schooling, but they could have been used for someone in public school as an afterschool program, a summer program, or even 5th year.

Plan # 1. A 17-year-old senior who said she wants to go into culinary arts. We contacted the head of a local community college culinary arts department. He told us what books they would be using the next year, set up a visit for her to come to the college and be a student for a day. That turned into her going to the college once a month and not shadowing another student but actually working. At home we used the textbook. A year later when she entered the program she knew the instructors, was familiar with the kitchen and how to use most of the equipment, and had a basic understanding of most of the academics that she was going to be taught. She also continued using the Wheels To Success during her senior year.

Plan # 2. A 17-year-old senior whose goal was to get a job. His plan consisted of taking classes through the Minnesota Work Center on how to get a job and on resume writing. Then to apply for jobs until he got one. He took serious this task and really worked hard at it. The plan went on to say after he got a job he would start budgeting money for a vehicle and all the expenses connected to it. While accomplishing this goal he also was to continue some academics. Which included the Wheel To Success.

Plan # 3. A 20-year-old senior whose goal was to stay at home. She was to continue some academics, work on her issues, find jobs that she could do around the home and get paid for, and do the Wheel To Success.

Coming in 2012 “A Radical Approach” watch for it on the HaysKids website.


Parent, PCA, Therapist, or Responsible Adult: Go through this list and ask the individual with FASD to rate themselves from 1-3, with 1 being not good and 3 being very good, on how they think they are doing in the different areas. Talk through each item on the list with them; point out how important it is to do well in each area to succeed in life. Keep this List, and go through it again with them later on in life.

• Basic education
• OT/PT/ speech
• Chores
• Daily life skills – Could you live on your own?
• FASD education – Are you learning about FASD?
• Social skills – Do you have friends? Talk about them
• Job – How many jobs have you had? Have you ever been fired?
• Clubs – Do you belong to any? What are they?
• PE – What do you do for physical exercise?
• Projects – What are you currently doing? What have you done in the past? • Real life – Getting through the day
• Possibly driver training (see Driving)
• Wheel To Success – (Do you know what it is? Have you ever read it?)
• Creativity
• Goals – Do you have any? What are they?
• Find something that you really enjoy doing or do very well – this does not include watching TV or playing video/computer games
• Self-motivation – Can you decide on something you want or need to do and get it done without someone else helping or reminding you?
• Meaning in Live – Why do you think you are here and what are you going to accomplish?

Friends are very important. How would your friends answer these questions?