To improve the health outcomes of individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders it is important to:

• Receive an early diagnosis
• Pursue the appropriate services
• And create a stable home environment

Possible physical effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are:

• Brain damage
• Facial anomalies
• Growth deficiencies
• Defects of the heart, kidneys and liver
• Vision and hearing problems
• Skeletal defects
• Dental abnormalities

It is best to involve a multiple service provider team to develop appropriate treatment plans. An individual’s treatment plan must reflect specific symptoms and problems. Individuals with an FASD usually have problems following multiple directions. It is therefore important providers explain their treatment plan in steps or formats easy to follow.

The treatment plan should include:

• Frequent follow-up visits
• Providers who share information with family members or caregivers who can assist in the individual’s treatment

It is important that the team of providers involved receive all current and appropriate information about the person.

Providers, which include Human Services Specialists, should be sensitive to the cognitive or behavioral differences in people with an FASD. The use of clear language, writing down information, and going over it several times so patients with an FASD can understand their condition. Most often, persons with an FASD needs careful coordination with many different health services. For example: A family of a child with FASD reported using more than 40 providers in early childhood and elementary school. These providers included:

• Pediatricians
• Neurologists
• Pediatric ophthalmologist
• Audiologist
• Otolaryngologist
• Medical supply providers
• Gastroenterologist
• Pharmacy
• Psychiatrist
• Allergist
• Nutritionist
• Feeding specialist
• High-risk infant and follow-up clinic
• FAS clinic
• Lab and x-ray services
• Surgeons
• Pulmonologist
• Respiratory therapist
• Occupational therapist
• Speech/language therapist
• Sensory integration therapist
• Mental health therapist/family support

In addition, this family used education, social, community, legal and financial service providers.

The damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure is permanent. The health effects cannot be reversed. Many of them can be treated, but oftentimes the appropriate combination of interventions and support are numerous and extremely time consuming.

Isn’t it much better to avoid it all by just not drinking alcohol during pregnancy?

Maintaining an alcohol-free pregnancy is the only way to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and a lifetime of spending your time in social service agencies, and medical facilities. Think about the time you are alone with your child and the suffering you will have to endure with he or she as well.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier for you and your child just not to drink alcohol during pregnancy? Abstain from alcohol during pregnancy and nursing and ensure your baby will be free from alcohol-related defects and have the chance for a healthy life.

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All health concerns should be addressed by a qualified health care professional.

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Written by: Connie Limon Visit: for more information about pregnancy. Visit: for information about the job responsibilities of Human Service Specialists.