Assessment & Diagnosis

1.Assessmentand Diagnosis

The first step towards helping individuals and caregivers learn how to cope. The FASD diagnosis ensures adequate supports are put in place, leading to improved outcomes for those affected by FASD.

Key features looked for when assessing FASD:

  • The team looks at visible facial features
  • The team assesses for brain damage: functional assessments by a trained Psychologist, Occupational Therapist and Speech and Language Pathologist
  • The FASD assessment team determines exposure to alcohol. Confirmed or unconfirmed, while in the womb.


Individuals have a wider range of outcomes, and these features may appear in individuals whether or not they were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Features may also appear differently across the lifespan of the person. This is why FASD assessments are so difficult and require a team of professionals from multiple areas to accurately interpret and assess.

Why get diagnosed?

Research indicates that early diagnosis along with appropriate intervention and support results in healthier long term outcomes for individuals who have FASD.

By getting a diagnosis the individual can access help and support through different organizations. Those support services reduce the likelihood of developing a secondary issues and disabilities.

A diagnosis provides a platform for the individual and their caregiver to better understand and work with their limitations and challenges.

The diagnosis often modifies expectations of families, schools, and communities, who begin to accommodate the individual’s unique needs and access funding and support services.

Assessment for FASD can also help women at risk of having a child with FASD, and people with FASD get the help they need. Ultimately, the goal of assessing and diagnosing is to make sure a person has the tools, strategies and supports – He or she needs to be successful in life.

Referring to diagnosis is the first step for getting the help that individuals with FASD need. NEAFAN currently funds the FASD Diagnostic Services within the region. Please refer your client for a diagnosis.