Curriculum for Addiction Professionals > Competency 2: Identification of FASD and Diagnosis of FAS > 9b. Use of Diagnostic Results
Competency 2: Identification of FASD and Diagnosis of FAS
Use of Diagnostic Results
Early diagnosis is important in getting appropriate services. A targeted treatment
plan will help improve outcomes. Effective intervention at a young age can reduce
risk factors and help prevent secondary disabilities. Secondary disabilities
result from a poor fit between the individual and the environment.
Secondary disabilities in persons with an FASD include alcohol and drug problems,
confinement in a correctional or treatment facility, and involvement with the criminal
or juvenile justice system. The chart shows the occurrence of secondary disabilities
in 415 individuals between the ages of 6 and 51. Although this is the only study
to date of secondary disabilities, anecdotal evidence indicates that these problems
occur frequently in persons with an FASD.
Source: Streissguth, A.P.; Barr, H.M.; Kogan, J.; et al. 1996.
Final Report: Understanding the Occurrence of Secondary Disabilities in Clients With
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). Seattle: University
of Washington Publication Services.
Interventions for persons with an FASD vary, depending on individual needs. Few
interventions have been rigorously tested or proven effective with persons with
an FASD. However, certain strategies appear promising and have been shown to help,
such as breaking tasks into steps and giving one direction at a time.
Often, the diagnosis is unclear because the individual does not have definite FAS
facial features or prenatal alcohol exposure cannot be confirmed.
Addiction professionals are likely to encounter clients with an FASD, because about 20 percent
of persons with an FASD have alcohol and drug problems. Some may not have a definite
diagnosis of an FASD due to inability to identify FAS facial features or confirm
prenatal alcohol exposure. If an FASD is suspected, counselors should incorporate
strategies used with individuals who have been diagnosed with an FASD.