National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) identified FASD as an important category of disability for consideration within the NDIS.
Currently the NDIS only recognises Fetal Alcohol Syndrome under 'Congenital conditions - cases where malformations cannot be corrected by surgery or other treatment and result in permanent impairment.'
NDIA contracted Telethon Kids Institute to conduct a critical review of the available published and unpublished literature relating to impairment and interventions for FASD. A report was submitted to the NDIA in 2016.
The purpose of the review was to describe the types of disability supports, services and interventions that individuals with FASD require across their life course. It is hoped that this information will inform an approach to assessment and documenting impairment associated with FASD that will enable support and intervention planning within the NDIS.
Summary key findings
The report looked at principles relating to assessment, diagnosis and planning interventions for FASD; evidence on functional domains that are impaired in people with FASD across the lifecourse, evidence for interventions to reduce impacts of functional impairment and improve overall quality of life.
The domains of functional impairment associated with FASD diagnosis are significant and distinct to each affected individual. It is established that FASD is a lifelong condition characterised by a range of significant domains of functional impairment, often requiring behavioural modification and environmental accommodation interventions.
FASD is characterised by primary disabilities which are the result of prenatal alcohol exposure. Secondary effects are those disabilities that an individual is not born with but are caused by a lack of appropriate services and supports to address the primary disabilities. Individuals affected by FASD will have varied neurocognitive profiles and the extent of individual impairment may not become apparent until there is formal engagement with education. There is a growing body of evidence on effective interventions to address different aspects of cognitive and behavioural issues associated with FASD, which benefit from exposure to services and supports designed to address these.
While early diagnosis or assessment is optimal to enable early childhood intervention to take place, there are key transitional points along the life course when individuals are likely to benefit from assessment/re-assessment and referral to age appropriate interventions designed to improve daily functioning and participation in education, employment and social opportunities.
While early intervention is optimal, interventions to improve the ability of a person with FASD to function at home, education environment, work or with others in social settings are relevant across the life course.
National Disability Insurance Scheme