Strengths Among Individuals with FASD

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Although research and education on the challenges faced by individuals with FASD is important in order to provide resources and supports, it is equally important to talk about the strengths of these individuals.

Earlier this fall, we released an issue paper that discusses the current research that does exist in the area of FASD strengths, gaps in research that need to be filled, and recommendations moving forward.

Strengths of Individuals with FASD

  • Friendly and likeable
  • Helpful and generous
  • Outgoing, verbal, and good story-tellers
  • Artistic and musical
  • Mechanical and athletic
  • Determined, hard-working, willing, and persistent
  • Good with children and animals
  • Strong hands-on learners

Current Research

The few studies that have been done on the strengths of those with FASD focus on the education and justice systems.

School Success

  • One study found that success in school had a lot to do with caring teachers, FASD-informed teachers, and proper support
  • Individual strengths included art, vocabulary, and sports
  • It was found that knowing their own strengths helped motivate individuals with FASD and encouraged them to keep a good attitude to achieve success
  • Youth groups, creating friendships, and helping others is beneficial for encouraging strengths

Justice-Related Outcomes

  • Hope, willingness to change, and resilience helped adults with FASD in the justice-system
  • A study of individuals in the justice system found that personal strengths included being helpful and kind, artistic, and strong in visual and physical activities
  • An early diagnosis of FASD and avoiding substance use was important in seeing a good outcome


  • More research on the strengths of individuals with FASD is needed
  • In this research, the perspective of those with FASD needs to be included
  • We also need to see studies on how strengths-based interventions are helpful for those with FASD and their families

It is important to provide resources and supports to individuals with FASD, based on the challenges they face every day. However, we cannot forget to talk about their strengths as well. Significantly more research has focused on challenges and limitations, which perpetuates stigma toward those with FASD. We need to encourage more research on strengths in order to improve outcomes for individuals with FASD.

Click here to read the full issue paper devoted to this topic.

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