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FASD Diagnosis: Australian Guide to the diagnosis of FASD

The Guide was produced to assist clinicians in the diagnosis, referral and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It contains the Australian FASD Diagnostic Instrument and information about how to use the instrument. It provides clinicians with diagnostic criteria for FASD, which were agreed following a review of existing guidelines and consultation with clinical experts. These are similar to criteria in the Canadian Guidelines Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders across the lifespan (Jocelyn Cook et al 2016) and use clinical aids developed at the University of Washington to assess facial dysmorphology Diagnostic Guide for FASD The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code (Susan Astley 2004).

The Australian Guide to the diagnosis of FASD was released 5 May 2016 and updated 13 May 2016.

The Australian Guide was updated in February 2020. Links have been updated and some pages reformatted. There have been no amendments to the diagnostic instrument and how to use it.


Access the complete Australian Guide to the diagnosis of FASD including all appendices (February 2020)


Individual sections of the Australian Guide (February 2020)

Diagnostic categories and criteria for FASD

Table 1: Diagnostic criteria and categories

Figure 1: Diagnostic algorithm


Section A: Assessing maternal alcohol use

Table 2: Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test - Consumption (AUDIT-C)

Section B: Assessing neurodevelopmental impairment

Table 3: Neurodevelopmental domains: Criteria for severe impairment

Section C: Assessing sentinel facial features

Section D: Growth assessment

Section E: Formulating a diagnosis

Section F: Discussing the diagnosis and developing a management plan

Section G: Reporting a FASD diagnosis


Forms and Resources

Appendix A1: Australian FASD Diagnostic Assessment Form

Appendix A2: Australian FASD Diagnostic Assessment Summary Form

Appendix A3: Australian FASD Management Plan 

Appendix A5: Australian FASD Diagnostic Assessment Consent Form (this form includes 2 options)

  1. Consent form for parent/caregiver of person under 18 years
  2. Consent form for individual capable of giving consent themselves (eg older adolescents and adults)

Appendix A9: Referral and screening guidelines

Appendix B: Standard drink sizes for commonly consumed drinks

Appendix C: Assessment of Sentinel Facial Features

Appendix D: Syndromes with constellations of features which overlap with FASD

Information Sheets

Appendix A4: Information on FASD diagnostic assessment for individuals and caregivers

Appendix A6: Information for Clinicians: Issues that individuals and their caregivers may experience during the FASD diagnostic assessment process

Appendix A7: Information for individuals and caregivers after diagnostic assessment

Appendix A8: Information and resources for clinicians after diagnostic assessment


Reporting a FASD diagnosis

FASD is a notifiable birth defect in Western Australia and South Australia. To register a FASD diagnosis in these states refer to:


The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) monitors rare childhood conditions that include congenital/genetic disorders, infectious/vaccine preventable conditions, mental health and other injuries. FASD is one of the studies on the APSU Report Card.

Many Australian Paediatricians are currently reporting cases of FASD to the APSU.
Any clinician who wants to be included in the surveillance program can contact the APSU for information on the reporting process.

APSU Contact: 02 9845 3005 or email 
Online Case Report Form: FASD 
Printable Case Report Form: FASD 


E-Learning Modules

E-Learning modules to support health professionals involved in FASD diagnosis and other interested parties have been developed. Access the modules


Australian and New Zealand FASD Clinical Network

The purpose of the network is to coordinate, expand capacity and align clinical approaches to referral, assessment, diagnosis and intervention across Australia and New Zealand.

If you are interested in joining the network contact Christine Rogan

Page last updated 23 November 2020