SCREAMS: The Beginning
Intervention Strategies for Infants
and Young Children With FAS
Structure: consistency of care, stability of family1, regular routine with flexible schedule

Cues: reminders to chew or swallow, to self calm, to attend to task; use music, pictures, gestures2

Role models: form healthy habits with role play, modeling healthy behaviors and social interactions

Environment: quiet, dim room; SI3; swaddling, soft clothing; facing away during feeding; avoid chaos

Attitude: be aware of the neurological basis for behaviors; avoid punishment; educate others

Medications: over-the-counter or prescribed, try whatever works to restore balance in brain4

Supervision: close monitoring is crucial; developmental age is half that of chronological age


  1. A nurturing, stable home environment is one of the protective factors for prevention of secondary disabilities associated with FAS/ARND (Streissguth)
  2. Frequent cues are needed due to the memory and attention deficits. Some children can remember today but not tomorrow. Cues that involve multiple modalities are most helpful.
  3. Sensory Integration Therapy (SI), can be initiated after evaluation by an occupational therapist trained in SI. What works for one child might not work for another. SI needs to be designed for the particular individual. As a general rule, what the child craves (spinning, rocking, tapping, mouthing) indicates what the child needs most. Children with FAS like to give hugs, but might have difficulty getting hugs. They might like to make noises but have difficulty copint with loud noises. They want to control their sensory environment.
  4. Before trying medications, try adjusting the child’s diet by increasing fluid intake, avoiding MSG, nutrisweet, artificial coloring, and other food additives. Caffiene seems to be helpful to most children with FAS/ARND; try a non-cola drink like Mountain Dew. Meds that have been prescribed for children as young as three include but are not limited to:
    Children’s Dramamine
    Children’s Benadryl
For more information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, visit