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Exploring the Mechanisms of Social Participation Restrictions Faced by Children and Adolescents with Prenatal Brain Injury

Presented by Drs. Sara Stevens and Sabrina Agnihotri, this Research TEDTalk provided a fast lesson in the basic elements of social participation, and how those skills break down for kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.


Dr. Sara Stevens discussed the four core concepts of social participation:

  1. Understanding the intent of someone's statement/action
  2. Formulting possible responses to that statement/action
  3. Weighing the potential outcomes of your responses and choosing the appropriate social response
  4. Responding in a timely manner

Dr. Stevens explained that for children with FASD, it is common for the social skills to break down at step 3, where they weigh their possible responses in social situation and often choose a socially inappropriate option. This can lead to hostile behavior, bullying or being bullied, and difficulty making friends.Dr. Sabrina Agnihotri zeroed in further on two critical areas of social difficulty for children with FASD - Social Perspective Taking and Social Problem Solving. She explained that problems in understanding others' perspectives, and in identifying collaborative solutions to social problems, often led to issues for the FASD population. As children this might mean difficulty in school and behavioural problems, but could translate to criminal behaviour as youth with FASD enter adulthood. Dr. Agnihotri ended wiht a discussion of resources available to youth with FASD to help foster social skills and improve social participation.