Setting up for success : a qualitative study on teachers of students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology, Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Teaching is a stressful and emotionally challenging profession with high attrition, effecting positive outcomes for students. Concurrently, children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) often have disrupted school experiences and those who thrive have an extensive support system, including caring parents and teachers. Little research has been conducted internationally on the experiences and wellbeing of teachers working with students who have FASD, and even fewer studies with New Zealand teachers working in this area. This thesis explored the experiences of teachers in working with students who have FASD, with a focus on teacher wellbeing. Six New Zealand teachers from both mainstream and special needs schools were interviewed. Through the qualitative approach of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), the themes were teacher-student relationships and collaborative partnerships. This study revealed that it is necessary for school leaders and the Ministry of Education to understand FASD further in order to support the wellbeing of teachers working with children diagnosed with FASD.