Diagnosis and treatments for FASD
Diagnosis of FASD requires documentation of severe impairments in at least three areas of functioning, exposure to alcohol, and rule-out of other explanation for these impairments. Testing is done to determine performance in the areas of concern. Facial features may be measured to see if Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is present, in which case alcohol documentation is not needed. Diagnostic testing is usually done by a team, but if recent previous test results are available this is not necessary.
There is no cure for the alcohol-affected brain damage of FASD, but there are treatment and supports that can help. Some examples include medication to help with some symptoms, medical care for health problems, FASD-informed behavior and education therapy, and parental support and trainings. An essential element of treatment for FASD focuses on helping the caregiver understand and address the disability. Good FASD treatment plans are specific to the child’s challenges, build on their strengths, and tailored to their unique needs. Typically, those treatment plans are composed of close monitoring, follow-ups, and changes to medication, diet, or routine as needed.
There are protective factors that can help reduce the effects of FASDs, allowing those affected to be able to reach their full potential. Those protective factors include:
- Early diagnosis – before the age of 6 years
- Absence of violence around them
- Involvement in special education and social services
- A loving, nurturing, and stable home environment
- Full understanding by the family and any other caregivers of the disability itself.
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Santa Clara County Resources
Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Department
First 5 of Santa Clara County Health Screenings
What is FASD? (video)
General FASD Information
CDC – FASD – Basics about FASDs
CDC – FASD – Data & Statistics
Know FASD – Lifespan Neurobehavioral Difficulties
FASD treatments and living with FASD
CDC – FASD – Treatments
NOFAS – Living with FASD