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Module 6: Diagnosis and Treatment of FASD

Treatment Strategies

Patient talking to therapist Options for addressing issues related to FASD include individual therapy for dealing with emotional issues and risky behavior. Intensive case management can also help. This requires a great deal of coordination, because the individual may need vocational support, housing, transportation, financial assistance, and other assistance with activities of daily living. In addition, the family may need support, such as respite, counseling, and parenting education on FASD.

Strategies that may be effective include:

  • Health and Development Doctor examining baby
    • Early diagnosis (before age 6)
    • Supporting the family
    • Careful monitoring of children's health issues and development
    • Regular psychological, educational, and adaptive functioning evaluations
    • Referral to infant development programs and preschools
    • Therapy and medication as needed for FASD symptoms and co-occurring disorders

  • Home, School, and Work Environment
    • Safe, stable, and structured home
    • Daily routines and structured activities with predictable choices, consequences, and transitions
    • Consistent and supportive environment with realistic goals and expectations and responsibility for achievable tasks
    • Appropriate educational placement
    • Flexible environments with limited stimulation

  • Skill Development
    • Simple, concrete instructions
    • Use of clear, concrete, and immediate consequences for behavior
    • Multisensory teaching techniques (visual, auditory, experiential)
    • Training to recognize distress and ask for help
    • Training in anger management, social skills, relaxation, and other life skills, adapted for individuals with an FASD

During adolescence and adulthood, specific issues may arise, such as dealing with sexuality, residential placement, job placement, and financial management. Approaches that may help include:

  • Education of caregivers and individuals with an FASD about sexual development, healthy sexuality, birth control options, and protection from sexually transmitted diseases
  • Planning and implementation of adult residential and vocational training and placement
  • Appropriate mental health interventions, including medication and therapy as needed
  • Shift in focus from academic skills to daily living and job skills
  • Careful monitoring of social activities and structuring of leisure time
  • Training in decisionmaking skills
  • Guardianship for funds
  • Medical and health care support and subsidization
  • Personal advocates

Multimedia Video: Describes Marcy's personal experience and the effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant had on her daughter Sidney and Sidney's progress through the years.

Multimedia Video: Describes Penny's journey to Kennedy Krieger Institute to have her children, Deja and LaDell, assessed by Dr. Paula Lockhart, Director of the Fetal Alcohol Research Center.

Multimedia Video: Describes Marit's personal experience and the effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant had on her son Antoine and his progress.

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