Skip to Main Content
Table 1.

Overview of Child and Caregiver Sessions

Week Child Sessions Caregiver Sessions 
“Invitation to Learn, Grow, and Share: Different Games for Different Brains”—Group leaders facilitate introductions via use of a musical name game and provide an overview of the purpose of the group. Group rules are devised, and issues pertaining to confidentiality and respect are discussed. Using the metaphor of an automobile engine for the human brain and body, facilitators introduce the concept of self-regulation. Just as a car engine runs in low, just-right, and high gears, so does the brain. Once they learn how to identify what gear their “engine speed” is in, they can then learn to make adjustments depending on the situation. “Understanding the Effects of Alcohol Exposure and the Need for Intervention”—Group leaders facilitate introductions and describe the curriculum. Caregivers are asked to share a little bit about their child, including areas of concern and strength. Group leaders briefly explain the physical and neurocognitive effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and introduce the four intervention concepts emphasized throughout the curriculum: self-regulation, memory skills, emotional awareness, and cause-and-effect reasoning. Group leaders note that each week they will review the topic areas covered in the children’s group to promote continuity of interventions in the home environment. 
“Self-Regulation: Feelings and Behaviors”—Group members participate in experiential activities to learn to identify when their “engine” is running in low, just-right, and high gear. Leaders reinforce the idea that although they sometimes need to adjust their engine speed to fit the demands of a situation, there are times when they need their engines to be in low or high gear. “Understanding the Effects of Alcohol Exposure, Part 2”—Via use of a PowerPoint presentation, group leaders facilitate a discussion about the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, including, but not limited to, physical characteristics; central nervous system effects; behavioral, emotional, and thought dysregulation; information processing deficits; and idiosyncratic recording and storage of memories. Brain slides of people affected by prenatal alcohol exposure are discussed to help caregivers reframe their understanding of their child’s struggles and challenges. 
“Self-Regulation: Feelings and Behaviors, Part 2”—Group leaders introduce the Engine Speed Chart to help members label their “engine levels” while participating in activities throughout the course of a typical day. “Intervening With Emotional and Behavioral Effects of Sensory Integration Deficits”—Group leaders provide a basic overview of sensory integration theory, optimally with the help of an occupational therapist who is trained in sensory processing disorders. The caregivers discuss the ways sensory dysregulation affects their child’s behaviors and emotions. 
“Memory, Planning, and Behavior”—Group members learn steps for planning ahead and sequential thinking through active songs and movement. “Sensory Integration Deficits, Part 2”—Using the Sensory–Motor Preference Checklist for Adults (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996), caregivers assess their individual sensory–motor preferences. Group leaders then provide an overview of sensory strategies and techniques that help both children and adults adjust their arousal levels. Caregivers are encouraged to help their children practice sensory strategies in the home environment. 
“Sensation and Emotion”—Group leaders introduce progressive muscle relaxation techniques to enable the children to adjust their arousal levels. Self-awareness is promoted as the group members learn to understand their feelings by visually indicating with art where in their body they feel certain emotions. “Caregiver Self-Care”—Group leaders lead a discussion about caregiver self-care. Caregivers are asked to reflect on barriers to self-care and strategies to get around such barriers. Finally, caregivers receive progressive muscle relaxation training and are instructed to practice these techniques with their children. 
“Review and Renew”—Group members review and practice self-regulation, memory, and emotional awareness tasks to enhance skill areas and reinforce learning. “Memory Deficits in Alcohol-Exposed Children”—Group leaders lead a discussion related to memory functioning in children with prenatal alcohol exposure, including the related brain structures that can be affected by alcohol prenatally. They introduce strategies for promoting memory consolidation and retrieval. 
“Emotions and Planning”—Group members continue to learn about emotional awareness and expression by learning how to identify feelings visually and by acting out their feelings through various games. “Helping Your Child Think Ahead and Solve Problems: Cause-and-Effect Thinking”—Caregivers are taught various problem-solving strategies to use with their child, including a five-step approach: (1) What is the problem? (2) What are my options or solutions? (3) Which is the best solution to use? (4) Apply the solution. (5) Evaluate the results: If successful, give positive feedback; if not, return to the second step. 
“Social Skills and Problem Solving”—Via animal pictures that depict several different coping styles, group members increase self-awareness by participating in role-plays that illustrate each of the coping styles. “Problem Solving, Part 2”—Caregivers participate in experiential role-plays to practice a five-step problem-solving approach with their child. Group leaders also review the coping styles in the animal pictures presented in the children’s group and encourage caregivers to think about their personal coping styles and how their approaches to problem solving compare with their child’s. 
“Thinking and Planning”—Group members continue work on strategies that promote emotional awareness and cause-and-effect reasoning through the use of comic strips and illustrated stories. “How to Be an External Brain”—Group leaders introduce the concept of being an external brain, or providing optimal levels of structure, guidance, and support so children internalize good habits and routines. 
10 “Emotions and Self-Esteem”—Children increase emotional awareness skills and learn about self-esteem by exploring maladaptive or hurtful thoughts. The concept of “Mr. Mean,” or our inner critic, is introduced. Group leaders instruct the children on ways to identify Mr. Mean and stop Mr. Mean. “Understanding Self-Esteem in Children With Developmental Disabilities”—Group leaders lead a discussion about self-esteem, including the impact of a FAS or ARND diagnosis on the child’s self-concept. Group leaders help caregivers brainstorm strategies for improving the way their children feel about themselves. The voice of “Mr. Mean” is introduced, and caregivers reflect on their own inner critic. Caregivers also think about and share their feelings about raising a child with FAS and ARND. Finally, group leaders help caregivers identify strategies for combating negative self-statements in both themselves and their children. 
11 “Emotions and Self-Esteem, Part 2”—Group members learn about self-esteem through activities that highlight individual uniqueness, strengths, and positive qualities. They also practice strategies to enhance self-esteem. Group leaders prepare the children for the last session, including a discussion about the many feelings they might have when it is time to say goodbye. “Review of Discussion, Techniques, and At-Home Progress”—Group leaders review the four general topics covered over the course of program: self-regulation, memory, emotional awareness, and cause-and-effect thinking. Group leaders answer any questions caregivers have about implementing techniques and making individual adjustments to fit their child and family. Group leaders prepare caregivers for the final group session. 
12 “Conclusion and Graduation”—The final session is conducted with both children and caregivers present. Via a noncompetitive game format, children and caregivers review and practice concepts learned over the course of the past 11 wk. Children are individually awarded a Master Mechanic Certificate to celebrate their growth and achievement. Children are also presented with their Strength Book, which is a compilation of the learning exercises and art projects they completed in each of the sessions. 
Week Child Sessions Caregiver Sessions 
“Invitation to Learn, Grow, and Share: Different Games for Different Brains”—Group leaders facilitate introductions via use of a musical name game and provide an overview of the purpose of the group. Group rules are devised, and issues pertaining to confidentiality and respect are discussed. Using the metaphor of an automobile engine for the human brain and body, facilitators introduce the concept of self-regulation. Just as a car engine runs in low, just-right, and high gears, so does the brain. Once they learn how to identify what gear their “engine speed” is in, they can then learn to make adjustments depending on the situation. “Understanding the Effects of Alcohol Exposure and the Need for Intervention”—Group leaders facilitate introductions and describe the curriculum. Caregivers are asked to share a little bit about their child, including areas of concern and strength. Group leaders briefly explain the physical and neurocognitive effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and introduce the four intervention concepts emphasized throughout the curriculum: self-regulation, memory skills, emotional awareness, and cause-and-effect reasoning. Group leaders note that each week they will review the topic areas covered in the children’s group to promote continuity of interventions in the home environment. 
“Self-Regulation: Feelings and Behaviors”—Group members participate in experiential activities to learn to identify when their “engine” is running in low, just-right, and high gear. Leaders reinforce the idea that although they sometimes need to adjust their engine speed to fit the demands of a situation, there are times when they need their engines to be in low or high gear. “Understanding the Effects of Alcohol Exposure, Part 2”—Via use of a PowerPoint presentation, group leaders facilitate a discussion about the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, including, but not limited to, physical characteristics; central nervous system effects; behavioral, emotional, and thought dysregulation; information processing deficits; and idiosyncratic recording and storage of memories. Brain slides of people affected by prenatal alcohol exposure are discussed to help caregivers reframe their understanding of their child’s struggles and challenges. 
“Self-Regulation: Feelings and Behaviors, Part 2”—Group leaders introduce the Engine Speed Chart to help members label their “engine levels” while participating in activities throughout the course of a typical day. “Intervening With Emotional and Behavioral Effects of Sensory Integration Deficits”—Group leaders provide a basic overview of sensory integration theory, optimally with the help of an occupational therapist who is trained in sensory processing disorders. The caregivers discuss the ways sensory dysregulation affects their child’s behaviors and emotions. 
“Memory, Planning, and Behavior”—Group members learn steps for planning ahead and sequential thinking through active songs and movement. “Sensory Integration Deficits, Part 2”—Using the Sensory–Motor Preference Checklist for Adults (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996), caregivers assess their individual sensory–motor preferences. Group leaders then provide an overview of sensory strategies and techniques that help both children and adults adjust their arousal levels. Caregivers are encouraged to help their children practice sensory strategies in the home environment. 
“Sensation and Emotion”—Group leaders introduce progressive muscle relaxation techniques to enable the children to adjust their arousal levels. Self-awareness is promoted as the group members learn to understand their feelings by visually indicating with art where in their body they feel certain emotions. “Caregiver Self-Care”—Group leaders lead a discussion about caregiver self-care. Caregivers are asked to reflect on barriers to self-care and strategies to get around such barriers. Finally, caregivers receive progressive muscle relaxation training and are instructed to practice these techniques with their children. 
“Review and Renew”—Group members review and practice self-regulation, memory, and emotional awareness tasks to enhance skill areas and reinforce learning. “Memory Deficits in Alcohol-Exposed Children”—Group leaders lead a discussion related to memory functioning in children with prenatal alcohol exposure, including the related brain structures that can be affected by alcohol prenatally. They introduce strategies for promoting memory consolidation and retrieval. 
“Emotions and Planning”—Group members continue to learn about emotional awareness and expression by learning how to identify feelings visually and by acting out their feelings through various games. “Helping Your Child Think Ahead and Solve Problems: Cause-and-Effect Thinking”—Caregivers are taught various problem-solving strategies to use with their child, including a five-step approach: (1) What is the problem? (2) What are my options or solutions? (3) Which is the best solution to use? (4) Apply the solution. (5) Evaluate the results: If successful, give positive feedback; if not, return to the second step. 
“Social Skills and Problem Solving”—Via animal pictures that depict several different coping styles, group members increase self-awareness by participating in role-plays that illustrate each of the coping styles. “Problem Solving, Part 2”—Caregivers participate in experiential role-plays to practice a five-step problem-solving approach with their child. Group leaders also review the coping styles in the animal pictures presented in the children’s group and encourage caregivers to think about their personal coping styles and how their approaches to problem solving compare with their child’s. 
“Thinking and Planning”—Group members continue work on strategies that promote emotional awareness and cause-and-effect reasoning through the use of comic strips and illustrated stories. “How to Be an External Brain”—Group leaders introduce the concept of being an external brain, or providing optimal levels of structure, guidance, and support so children internalize good habits and routines. 
10 “Emotions and Self-Esteem”—Children increase emotional awareness skills and learn about self-esteem by exploring maladaptive or hurtful thoughts. The concept of “Mr. Mean,” or our inner critic, is introduced. Group leaders instruct the children on ways to identify Mr. Mean and stop Mr. Mean. “Understanding Self-Esteem in Children With Developmental Disabilities”—Group leaders lead a discussion about self-esteem, including the impact of a FAS or ARND diagnosis on the child’s self-concept. Group leaders help caregivers brainstorm strategies for improving the way their children feel about themselves. The voice of “Mr. Mean” is introduced, and caregivers reflect on their own inner critic. Caregivers also think about and share their feelings about raising a child with FAS and ARND. Finally, group leaders help caregivers identify strategies for combating negative self-statements in both themselves and their children. 
11 “Emotions and Self-Esteem, Part 2”—Group members learn about self-esteem through activities that highlight individual uniqueness, strengths, and positive qualities. They also practice strategies to enhance self-esteem. Group leaders prepare the children for the last session, including a discussion about the many feelings they might have when it is time to say goodbye. “Review of Discussion, Techniques, and At-Home Progress”—Group leaders review the four general topics covered over the course of program: self-regulation, memory, emotional awareness, and cause-and-effect thinking. Group leaders answer any questions caregivers have about implementing techniques and making individual adjustments to fit their child and family. Group leaders prepare caregivers for the final group session. 
12 “Conclusion and Graduation”—The final session is conducted with both children and caregivers present. Via a noncompetitive game format, children and caregivers review and practice concepts learned over the course of the past 11 wk. Children are individually awarded a Master Mechanic Certificate to celebrate their growth and achievement. Children are also presented with their Strength Book, which is a compilation of the learning exercises and art projects they completed in each of the sessions. 
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal