Rewards of Parenting a Child with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Jason D. Brown*, Susan Rodger, Natalie George, David St. Arnault, Jennifer Sintzel
Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, 1137 Western Road, London, N6G 1G7, Canada.

© 2008 Brown et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario, 1137 Western Road, London, N6G 1G7, Canada; Tel: 519-661-2111, Ext. 88617; Fax: 519-661-3833; E-mail:


There is a considerable amount of research on the challenges associated with parenting children who have disabilities, and little that focuses on positive aspects. The purpose of the study was to describe the rewards of parents of children with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Nineteen birth, foster or adoptive parents were asked to answer the following question: “What are the rewards of parenting a child with a FASD?” The data were analyzed using multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis. Four clusters resulted. Parents indicated that they saw the children’s effort, growth, and accomplishment in a variety of domains as encouraging. Parents also reported feeling appreciated by the children. Results suggest that rewarding parenting experiences with children who have alcohol-related disabilities are multiple, diverse and, when compared to the literature, largely consistent. The results lend credibility to the existing literature on the rewards of parenting children with developmental disabilities, and FASD in particular.

Keywords: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, parenting, rewards.