The Wellness, Resilience and Partnership Project: Relational Supports for Youth with FASD in Alberta Schools.
Fortunately for the child born in Alberta today with FASD there are supports and services available thanks to the implementation of a provincial strategic plan designed to make it easier for people affected by FASD to get the help they need at any point during their lives. In addition to a number of other initiatives, financial support from the FASD Cross Ministry Committee allowed for the establishment of relational supports for youth with FASD in Alberta Schools. The Wellness, Resilience and Partnership (WRaP) project, since its inception in 2009, has provided a continuum of supports and services for junior and senior high students with FASD. Services are coordinated and provided by on site youth coaches who work with students, in collaboration with school counsellors, family-school liaison workers, parents or caregivers, administrators, teachers, learning coaches and community partners, to:
The key variable in the realization of success for this vulnerable adolescent student population is the relational support provided by success coaches working directly with students and staff in schools. Specifically coaches provide targeted instruction for vulnerable populations, routinely check in with youth, assist students with attaining healthy living objectives and personal goals, leverage technology for learning, coach and reinforce the use of adaptive life skills and encourage students to engage with school tasks and persist when academic or social expectations are difficult. Coaches facilitate opportunities for staff, parents and students to learn about FASD and school administrators and teachers look to on site coaches for support when identified students present with needs throughout the school day. Certainly caring teachers and principals want to help vulnerable children and youth but the are very occupied in schools with their professional responsibility to engage in the ongoing analysis, decision making and implementation required to ensure optimum learning by all students attending schools in Alberta ( Teaching Quality Standard, Ministerial Order #016/97). The youth success coaches are trained to work with youth with complex needs and also have flexibility in their schedules during the school day to provide the responsive continuum of supports and services students with FASD require to be successful. Coaches also help youth with FASD with achieving healthy living goals in the community and at home by facilitating ongoing, positive communications and collaborations with parents or caregivers, employers, community and recreation leaders and service providers. The project coordinator has developed and sustained a strong community of practice among the success coaches and technology has been leveraged to ensure coaches meet and problem solve collectively once a week. A wealth of tools to support school learning teams, families, students and coaches have been developed and are available on the WRaP website. A WRaP app and a learning series, Supporting Students with FASD have also been developed.
With the vision and support of the FASD Cross Ministry Committee, relational supports for vulnerable youth in Alberta Schools have been enhanced in the last eight years. During this time of transition, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, their families, the success coaches and all of the project partners who have supported brighter outcomes for youth with FASD through the WRaP project. Specifically thanks must be extended to:
Home Study Tutor: Educational Psychology 389 and 470
Updated March 09 2017 by Student & Academic Services