Home » Chapter 6: The FASD Student & Behavioral Issues » Stubborn or Oppositional

Stubborn or Oppositional

Stubbornness or oppositional behavior is a characteristic that is often used to describe the FASD child. While the refusal and unreasonable behavior is frustrating for the teacher, there are reasons underlying why the FASD student is stubborn.

When an FASD student is asked to do something that is too hard or too frustrating, he/she may become very upset. These students may not understand the directions given. Teachers are likely to see these students cry, “close down,” refuse to participate, or become disruptive.

When the student cannot process anything else, he/she is on overload. The student is saturated and cannot take in any more information. They may feel they know something, and if they’re asked to alter it in any way, it may be too much for them. This is when stubborn or oppositional behavior occurs.

When there is a change in a routine, it is very difficult for the FASD student to function. They have a hard time “switching gears.” In general, transitions are difficult for the FASD student (see Routines in Chapter 4).

I am a bowling ball. Once I get rolling down one lane, I just can’t switch over… it takes me forever to slow down or move on to another kind of activity even when it’s something I can remember I like doing.”
(Kleinfeld and Wescott, 1993)
“I’m like a train. Once I get going one way , I can’t just suddenly go off in another
direction cause there’s this whole chain of things I’m holding together .
(Kleinfeld and Wescott, 1993)

Stubborn behavior is also a form of control for these students. While it is an ineffective strategy, it is more comfortable than dealing with the uncertainty of change or transition.

FASD students have the following deficits, which explain their stubborn or oppositional behavior. These deficits are associated with damage to specific areas in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.

  • These students have information-processing difficulties.
  • These students have memory deficits.hippo-CC