The authors of the current study had two primary objectives: (1) to determine the prevalence of teacher-reported diagnosis of FASD in kindergarten children; and (2) to determine the developmental health of children with FASD. A secondary objective of the study was to compare the prevalence of problems at home between children with FASD and children with other neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD).
The researchers surveyed 19 clinics providing diagnostic services in Alberta, Canada to examine the consistencies and differences in clinical practice. The goal of this study is to bring awareness to areas where measures may be lacking and to identify tools being used in the diagnostic process, including those that are not suggested in the current Canadian guideline.
Prenatal alcohol exposure has the potential to result in a range of complex physical, mental, and behavioural disabilities, known collectively as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Although alcohol exposure through the consumption of breast milk does not cause FASD, it has the potential to negatively impact infant and child development.
FASD is one of the most critical issues in child welfare, given the high vulnerability and increased prevalence of children with FASD in the child-care system. Social workers and health professionals are in the perfect position to ensure early diagnosis and intervention for children in the child welfare system, but these professionals may not have adequate knowledge and training to do so.
Discussions with health and social service practitioners in New Zealand found that the non-clinical factors, such as personal experience and opinions, are influencing their professional practice in relation to FASD prevention and intervention. Consistent, evidence-based training programs for health professionals are sorely needed to improve FASD practice.
The transition to adulthood can be a challenging experience for individuals with FASD because of the expectation of increased responsibility and independence in adulthood. The unique nature of FASD, coupled with the wide range of challenges individuals with FASD face and the lack of FASD specific services available, suggests that particular attention should be paid to the transition planning process for youth with FASD.
Caregivers and families experience numerous and significant impacts in relation to understanding FASD, obtaining an FASD diagnosis, and managing and supporting individuals with FASD through their lifetime. A lack of understanding by health care and social service providers was considered a key barrier to accessing effective resources and supports. Improved training, resources, and FASD diagnostic guidelines for health care practitioners is essential for improving outcomes for individuals, caregivers, and families.
Organizations and countries around the world have developed a number of prevention strategies to reduce the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Alcohol warning labels are becoming an increasingly common prevention strategy. However, research is mixed on whether this approach is an effective means of FASD prevention.