Diagnosis and Treatment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
How are FASDs diagnosed?
FASDs are best diagnosed using a multidisciplinary approach - medical and mental health professionals who might assist in this process may include: dysmorphologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and family advocates.
Various diagnostic systems have been proposed to evaluate individuals for FAS and related conditions. These include:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004). Fetal alcohol syndrome: Guidelines for referral and diagnosis. Atlanta, GA: Department of Health and Human Services. (www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fas/documents/FAS_guidelines_accessible.pdf )
- Astley, S.J. (2004). Diagnostic Guide for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code, 3rd edition. Seattle, WA: University of Washington. (depts.washington.edu/fasdpn/pdfs/guide2004.pdf )
These approaches offer clinicians and researchers guidelines for evaluating individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure that will lead to increased validity and reliability in their diagnostic decisions.
For a more information about the evaluation process, enroll in our free CME course, Identification, Evaluation, and Diagnosis of FASDs
What treatments are available for individuals with FASDs?
Treatment for individuals with FASDs may include:
- Educational interventions and adjunctive services (modification of teaching strategies, classroom accommodations, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy)
- Pharmacological intervention
- Psychosocial interventions (e.g., parenting strategies, behavioral therapy, social skills intervention, parent-child interaction therapy)
- Vocational and life skills training
- Support and advocacy groups (for both affected individual and families)
For a more information about treatment-related issues, enroll in our free CME course, Treatment and Case Management of FASDs