Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Prevention of secondary Disabilities Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Table of Contents

Prevention of secondary Disabilities Fetal Alcohol Syndrome3


Rationale of the Study4

Focus Question7

Search Strategy8

Research Method10

Diagnosis Of Participants Across Intervention Sites10


Measures and procedures15





Prevention of secondary Disabilities Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


It is well established that prenatal exposure to alcohol causes damage to the developing fetus, resulting in a spectrum of disorders known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Although our understanding of the deficits and disturbances associated with FASDs is far from complete, there are consistent findings indicating these are serious, lifelong disabilities—especially when these disabilities result from central nervous system damage. Until recently, information and strategies for interventions specific to individuals with FASDs have been gleaned from interventions used with people with other disabilities and from the practical wisdom gained by parents and clinicians through trial and error or shared through informal networks. Although informative to a limited degree, such interventions have been implemented without being evaluated systematically or scientifically. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of a general intervention framework developed for individuals with FASDs and the methods and general findings of five specific intervention research studies conducted within this framework. The studies evaluated five different interventions in five diverse locations in the United States, with different segments of the FASD population. Nonetheless, all participants showed improvement in the target behaviours or skills, with four studies achieving statistical significance in treatment outcomes. Important lessons emerged from these five interventions that may explain success: including parent education or training, teaching children specific skills they would usually learn by observation or abstraction, and integration into existing systems of treatment. A major implication of these research studies for families dealing with FASDs is that there are now interventions available that can address their children's needs and that can be presented as scientifically validated and efficacious to intervention agents such as schools, social services, and mental health providers. In the field of FASD research and clinical service, a common theme reported by families has been that clinicians and professionals have been reluctant to diagnose their children because there were no known effective treatments. Results of these five studies dispel that concern by demonstrating several interventions that have been shown to improve the lives of individuals with FASDs and their families.

Rationale of the Study

Physicians should intervene as early as possible with children with FAS or FAE to prevent development of secondary disabilities. Efforts to prevent secondary disabilities should involve coordinating several levels of diagnosis and intervention to maximize the child's postnatal development. It is important to recognize that, although the main harmful effects of alcohol occur in utero, a great deal of neurological development occurs after birth. Some progress can be made by using techniques geared to meeting the special needs of children with FAS and FAE. Screening development of children in high-risk groups and early intervention with medical, speech, physical, emotional, and social services for both affected children and their parents have been demonstrated to be effective (Ylvisaker et ...
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