Please join us in Atlanta for an important FASD Training

Many families enter the child welfare system through family and juvenile delinquency courts due to drug and alcohol abuse. FASD/ND-PAE should be a primary “rule out” in these cases. Neurodevelopmental issues impacting a child’s actions in school, foster care placement, juvenile and adult detention, and/or other community agency settings may not be apparent. The lack of a proper diagnosis for a child with FASD/ND-PAE may deprive the child of adequate services or effective treatment to prevent recidivism and further involvement with the court system.

In 2012, the American Bar Association passed a resolution advocating for “training to enhance awareness of [Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)] and its impact on individuals in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and adult criminal justice systems and the value of collaboration with medical, mental health, and disability experts.”  The resolution further urges “the passage of laws, and adoption of policies at all levels of government that acknowledge and treat the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and better assist individuals with FASD.”  The Resolution also discusses why people with FASD should receive services from developmental disability organizations.

Prenatal alcohol exposure increases the risk for deficits in communication, daily living skills, and socialization behavior, evidenced by low standard scores on the Vineland (VABS). These deficits are not attributable to deficits in cognitive function. IQ is misleading. Adults with FASD who have high IQs often experience significantly impaired social skills. These individuals show an array of deficits in social and adaptive functioning that persist throughout their life spans. Therefore it is important to have early identification, diagnosis and intervention including receiving services from the state department of developmental disabilities.

This conference will cover an expansive overview of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). FASD is the most common cause of intellectual disabilities in the United States, with the lowest prevalence of 1% in the general population (recent estimates are 2-5%) and up to 70% of children in foster care.

Individuals with FASD:

  • Are 19 times more likely to experience an intellectual disability
  • Are 7 times more likely to experience ADHD
  • Are 3 to 5 times more likely to experience a learning disability

Juveniles with FASD are 19 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers without FASD.

The prevalence of FASD is surpassing that of Trisomy 21 and cerebral palsy. FASD is as common as autism yet most children and adults with this disorder are never diagnosed as having neurodevelopmental disabilities secondary to fetal alcohol exposure. Because of stigma attached many birth mothers are unwilling to admit to drinking during pregnancy.

Many children with FASD may not experience cognitive delays, but most are at risk for poor adaptation.  Many children who meet criteria for FAS, PFAS and ARND overall may have higher IQ’s and often function well enough to avoid detection and referral. However, Children with FASD are characterized as having significant brain pathology that may restrict the degree of improvement they can achieve over the years without early intervention. These children need proper supports to help them thrive in their social interactions.

Decreased ability to read social cues often leads to poor peer choices and many youths with FASD end up in family court and the juvenile delinquency system. There is a very high rate of recidivism. The early intervention and “supported services” which are needed are often not available for these children because many states do not recognize FASD as a developmental disability.

Children born with FASD often have a developmental disability. Many state developmental disability agencies throughout the United States don’t understand FASD and continue to deny services to these children who have been diagnosed with prenatal alcohol exposure.  In many states, the statutory definition of a developmental disability excludes large numbers of children from getting the services they so desperately need.  Many children and adults who have FASD have very high IQ’s and often have very low adaptive behavior skills.

Let’s work together to educate and bring further FASD Awareness