Caring for a child with FASD can be hard, even for the most dedicated parents and caregivers
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD’s) are often lifelong disabilities. Children with FAS and FASD need a great deal of support and supervision.
It’s important for parents to find resources and support systems. Start by visiting the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) Web site.
Ideas for helping your child
At the doctor
Because FASD’s can be “invisible,” they are often overlooked and may be hard to diagnose correctly. A doctor may need to observe your child over time as he or she grows. Find a “medical home” for your child; find a pediatrician you trust and keep going to that doctor.
Advocate for your child. Ask your child’s doctor to help work with your child’s school. Both mothers and fathers can bring different skills in advocating for their child.
It is important for children with FAS or FASD to have a stable, nurturing home where they feel safe and have constant supervision. Children in foster care need to avoid multiple moves, as this can be extremely traumatic for a child with FAS.
- Get help early. If you notice your child is having problems, ask for early intervention through screening and assessment.
- Find a developmental clinic where your child could be referred. Look for a clinic with a developmental pediatrician and a team of staff who will assess your child and write a treatment plan.
- Keep a detailed record of your child’s medical care and any resources you use. Write a summary of your child’s diagnosis, medical complications, treatment and necessary follow-up care.
- Look for services and resources to meet your child’s needs, including eligibility for Medicaid.
- Provide a nurturing, responsive and healthy home. This can reduce the effects your child experiences from FAS.
- For children with behavior or learning problems, encourage the school system to provide psychoeducational testing to look for central nervous system damage.
Find out more
The language of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (pdf)
Effects of alcohol on a fetus (pdf)
Adopting or fostering a child with FASD (pdf)
What the foster care system should know (pdf)
How FASDs co-occur with mental illness (pdf)
If your child faces the juvenile justice system (pdf)