Understanding and Supporting Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - Strategies for Health Professionals: an Opinion Piece
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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a non-diagnostic umbrella term used to describe the spectrum of lifelong physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities that can result from prenatal exposure to alcohol. FASD is preventable when pregnant women abstain from drinking any type or amount of alcohol at any time during pregnancy. One in 100 children worldwide are affected. Prompt diagnosis and treatment referrals for infants and children improve functionality. Yet, conditions related to fetal alcohol exposure frequently remain unrecognized and untreated. Adults with both diagnosed and hidden FASD experience significant cognitive, behavioral, and executive functioning deficits. Co-morbid physical and psychiatric disorders are common. This editorial presents health professionals with information to understand and support adults with FASD. Specific strategies related to initiating referrals to community services, communicating intentionally, and responding positively to behavioral challenges are discussed.