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FASD is a brain-based condition

FASD is a brain-based condition. Due to the range of brain domains and function that can be affected by exposure to alcohol, there is no ‘typical person’ with FASD. Every person with FASD has a unique set of strengths and difficulties and personality traits. Therefore, any management planning needs to be guided by a tailored approach for each individual.

Since FASD is a permanent disability, management aims to help the person achieve their potential, to overcome specific deficits in skills and behaviours, and to reduce the risk of secondary impairments (such as academic failure, substance abuse, mental ill-health, contact with the justice system, and difficulties living independently).

An early diagnosis can help:

  • mitigate the onset and severity of adverse health and psychosocial outcomes
  • obtain support at school or access to specialised services
  • obtain services such as specific therapies for impairments identified in the assessment

A thorough assessment of all neurodevelopmental impairments as part of the diagnostic process is critical to informing an effective and tailored management plan or approach to therapy.

“We get hung up on whether there’s specific interventions for FASD. It’s more important to take a holistic approach and consider every aspect of a child’s functioning and environment. It’s about adapting the environment to the child to get the best outcomes for them.” Health professional

Principles of management and successful interventions

Five key principles to guide management for health professionals, parents & carers and other professionals