Psychologist play a critical role in diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
The diagnosis of FASD is important to help children and adults, and their families, who have the disorder. FASD is a “neurodevelopmental” disorder resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals with FASD can experience complex behavioural and intellectual problems that persist throughout the lifespan and can become increasingly complicated if unsupported. The need for early and accurate diagnosis is critical for improving outcomes and quality of life. It is estimated that approximately 4 in 100 people have FASD in Canada.
The Canadian guidelines for diagnosis were revised in 2015; currently diagnosis involves 3 components:
- confirmation of prenatal exposure to alcohol (7 or more standard drinks per week, or 2 or more binge episodes of 4 or more drinks during the pregnancy),
- evaluation of whether an individual has any of the typical facial features associated with FASD,
- and, lastly, a neuropsychological evaluation of whether an individual has 3 or more “domains” of thinking difficulties. This is the component that our psychologists can be of assistance with. Please let us know if we can be of assistance in this type of evaluation for you.