5. Systems and service supports for children and families living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Dr Sara McLean
The term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) covers a range of developmental disorders associated with a variety of physical, mental health, and behavioural difficulties. FASD is caused by exposure of the developing fetus to alcohol in utero. Children living with FASD often require support from multiple service providers, including health services, mental health services, child protection, intensive family support, and alternative and mainstream education services. Many aspects of conventional services, such as referral pathways, information provision, and support provision may be less suited to children living with FASD. Access to these services assumes well-developed memory, language or organisation skills that may be lacking in children affected by FASD. Collaborative service provision that relies on a shared understanding of children’s needs is possibly the best way of engaging with and supporting children and families living with FASD.