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Abstract

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. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 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 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder experience significant cognitive, behavioral and executive functioning deficits. Co-morbid physical and psychiatric disorders are common. This editorial provides health professionals with information to understand and support adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Specific strategies related to initiating referrals to community services, communicating intentionally and responding positively to behavioral challenges are discussed.

Author Bio(s)

Amy Martyniuk BScPN, MHS, RPN, is a Community Mental Health Specialist with the Correctional Service of Canada in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Sherri Melrose PhD, RN, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines at Athabasca University in Canada.

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