Health Care Professionals

Health Care Professionals

FASD Toolkit (American Academy of Pediatrics)

For a comprehensive examination of aspects of FASD (description of FASD; identification, diagnosis, and referral; patient management; practice management; sample forms; training; resources), the Toolkit is an outstanding resource for all health care professionals and families

Implementation Guide for Pediatric Primary Care Providers (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Screening for Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

For Counselors 

Those providing counseling for an individual with an FASD need to be aware that traditional interventions are not optimally effective since those strategies are based on executive functions, which are almost always impaired to some degree with exposure to alcohol in utero.  A counselor needs a grounded understanding of FASD in order to work with the individual in therapy, as well as being flexible and adaptable to the individual’s functioning level and needs. Relying exclusively on intelligence measures lends a distorted view of the individual’s ability to operate in the world. Areas of adaptive functioning (the set of skills needed for daily living) must be evaluated and utilized to tailor treatment.  Counseling is best utilized to focus on the development of life skills, social skills, self advocacy, and behavioral regulation. 

It should be noted that DSM 5 now includes ND-PAE (neurodevelopmental disorder due to prenatal exposure to alcohol).

Excellent blog from a dad of several adults with FASD:   Why talk therapy fails    

TIP 58 is a treatment improvement protocol which addresses FASD.  It was published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2014) and is available digitally by using the link provided. This manual includes many helpful suggestions about how to approach counseling, strategies, resources, and issues that may come up in the course of treatment, including suicidality.  It is noted that a high percentage of individuals with an FASD have a co-occurring mental health diagnosis.   Family involvement is strongly encouraged; and “family” should be seen as a broad term to include what might be considered the circle of support that the individual has.  For those counselors who believe that DBT may be useful with certain individuals, Jodee Kulp has produced a set of modified DBT worksheets for person with neurodiversity, such as FASD.

As awareness of FASD grows, more and more articles and resources for mental health professionals have been  published in the following journals:

American Counseling Association

Art Therapy and FASD 

Journal of Neurology and Clinical Neuroscience (Beginner’s Guide)

Forensic Scholars Today (Understanding Confabulation)

National Association of Social Workers 

Physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies

A growing body of literature exists that addresses working with individuals with an FASD through physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies exists; these scholarly articles also assist these practitioners identify individuals with potential exposure to alcohol in utero.