Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Current issues in awareness, prevention and intervention
This paper reviews the research and current policy surrounding prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Alcohol use during pregnancy is linked to a spectrum of adverse fetal outcomes. This spectrum of abnormalities is collectively termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and may include physical, cognitive and/or developmental symptoms. The aim of this paper is to inform practitioners and other professionals working in a range of fields about the implications of FASD for children and their families. Current research on interventions or programs to work with families affected by FASD is also explored.
A practitioner resource: Supporting children living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Practice principles has also been published.
Dr Sara McLean is a Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Child Protection.
Stewart McDougall is part of the research team at the Australian Centre for Child Protection.
The authors wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of Vicki Russell, Chief Executive Officer, National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Australia, and Rhys Price-Robertson, Senior Research Officer, Child Family Community Australia.
The information in this paper was correct at the time of publication.
In 2016, Australia adopted new guidelines for the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Please view the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD for details on these changes and up-to-date guidelines.
This CFCA short article provides an overview for health professionals on the changes, see: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: A national diagnostic tool and a guide to its use.