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Identification

It is critical that FASD is identified or even better still, diagnosed as soon as possible.  Some times it cant be identified until the child reaches puberty, other times it is clearly evident at birth.  The sooner the condition can be identified or diagnosed, the sooner that strategies, interventions and accommodations can be put into place, the better it will be for the child and family.  If inapproprate strategies are used eg strategies that are usually used for people without a cognitive impairment, further damage can be done. 

It is therefore critical that as soon as it is identified that FASD may be a factor, that appropraite strategies, interventions and accommodations are utilised.  Should the condition not be FASD, no harm will be done by using these strategies.

Prevention

FASD is usually said to be 100% preventable.  The rffada does not believe this is the case.  There are always reasons that alcohol is consumed.  In Australia, those reasons are primarily lack of education (ie media campaign) and lack of consistent messages from health practitioners.  There are also unplanned pregnancies which account for around 50% if pregnancies. 

Treatment

There is no 'treatment' as such for FASD however managing the many secondary conditions that affect people with FASD is critical.  Medication is one of the most critical interventions that can be used to support a person with FASD.  There are other evidence-based strategies; practice-based strategies and wisdom-based strategies which are also important. 

Online training for professionals

This CPD accredited course has been adapted for use in the UK by health professionals and everyone interested in increasing their knowledge about FASD. It is funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council.

Alcohol in pregnancy – training for midwives

This is a three-year project to train midwives across the country about FASD. This year NOFAS-UK organised two CPD accredited study days for midwives.

The next study days are on 4th March in London and 18th March in Manchester (click here for details). To book a place please call 0208 458 5951 or complete the Booking Form and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To receive one complimentary copy of the "Alcohol in Pregnancy – Information for Midwives" booklet, please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your full postal address and profession.

FASD ScreeningTool

This is an informal non-medical assessment based on the experience of parents and carers of children with FASD and the research into the condition conducted by rffada members since 2000. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy

 


 

What to take to the Doctors for a diagnosis

 

FASD is sometimes confused with developmental delays and behaviour disorders. Only a specially trained doctor can tell for sure and give a complete diagnosis.  Unfortunately in Australia, very few doctors have been trained to diagnose the disabilities that fall under the fetal alcohol spectrum.

 

Without diagnosis appropriate interventions, strategies and accommodations can still be put into place for affected people.  The earlier this can be done the sooner it may result in fewer secondary disabilities such as mental health problems, trouble with the law, dropping out of school (or being disruptive in a classroom), experiencing unemployment and homelessness or developing alcohol and drug problems.  Without support, people with FASD can also have problems keeping a job and parenting both of which can create problems for the next generation.  People with FASD also have a high suicide rate. When you combine impulsivity with the lack of understanding of cause and effect suicides can be completed for issues that can be easily addressed by you and me but to a person with FASD will seem unsurmountable and unbearable.

 

People with FASD may be very good at many things. They may be loving, affectionate, friendly, artistic and musical, work well with animals and plants, be very loyal and show a great determination to succeed in life!

 

Once you have identified that your child may have FASD, what needs to happen next? 

 

In an ideal world you would go to your GP and he or she would either diagnose FAS (for people with the facial anomalies) or refer you to a diagnostic clinic where you and your child would receive an expert diagnosis and a management plan.  However at the moment in Australia it will be difficult for you to find a GP who understands the condition and can refer you appropriately.  However you may be lucky to find a doctor who is willing to discuss this condition with you and who also is prepared to learn more about FASD.

 

What do you need to take with you to your doctor’s appointment?  Take the completed identification tool (see Identification Tool on this website) along with the answers to the questions below.  Being ready to answer these questions may reserve time from the consultation to go over points on which you may want to spend more time. Your doctor might ask the following questions:

 

Below, Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you took during pregnancy

List here:

 

 

 

 

When did you first notice your child's symptoms?

 

 

Have these symptoms been continuous or only occasional?

Continuous

Occasional

Describe

Does anything seem to improve the symptoms?

Yes

No

Describe

What, if anything seems to worsen the symptoms?

 

 

Did you use any substances during your pregnancy?

Yes

No

Describe

Did you have any problems during your pregnancy or during the birth?

Yes

No

Describe

 

Then collect all the information you have on your child:

 

Information

Tick

Birth Weight

Immunisation history

Medical History

Behavioural History

Completed FASD Characteristics Checklist for all age levels

The results of any other assessments eg

    Neuro-psych  Assessment

    Sensory Integration Disorder Assessment

    Central Auditory Assessment

    Occupational Therapist Assessment

    Educational Assessment

    Psychiatric/Psychological Assessment

Other

 

 

Other comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Education Resource for Health Professionals

A collaborative project between Alcohol Healthwatch and the University of Otago, funded by the Ministry of Health

Read more Alcohol Healthwatch

To facilitate the capability of health professionals to have these consultations in everyday clinical practice a resource has been developed.

Read more 'The Pregnancy and Alcohol Cessation Toolkit (PACT) Educational Resource'

 

Read more: An Education Resource for Health Professionals

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