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FASD school program engages students with video game
Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder at David Livingston School have the opportunity to participate in a new program designed for the PlayStation generation.
The school is at the forefront of FASD research, with a class designed for the needs of kids with the disorder.
In the middle of class, 11-year-old Monique can put down her books and play a video game.
“It’s fun,” said Monique - and that’s why it works.Caribbean Quest is a game specifically designed for children living with FASD. To succeed, the kids must develop memory, planning and patience skills often lacking in many kids with FASD.
"They designed the game to specifically start slow, and start small, so that the children experience success, and then challenge them to be doing longer and longer sequences," said Marnie Hutchison, a researcher at the school.
It isn't always easy to do that. "I get frustrated and it gets me angry," said Monique.
But she keeps coming back to master it. "I try my best, and I tell myself, ‘Don't give up on this game, just keep on going.’"
Exactly what she needs to do to win in the game and in life.
Monique’s experience is not unique. Early research in B.C. has shown the game to be effective with one-on-one between student and teacher and in small groups.
Now, the pilot project in Winnipeg is underway to see if it will work in a larger setting.
"We want to see how broadly we can make this touch more students, in more classrooms, in essence, throughout the country," said Kevin Chief, Children and Youth Opportunities minister,
Chief says the game will be free for schools to use. The findings will be presented at a national FASD conference to be held in Winnipeg this fall.
- With a report by Jon Hendricks