Effectively Improving FASD Outcomes: Adversity & FASD

PAE and ongoing adversity and stress often happen together.

People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are more vulnerable to the negative effects of stress due to the brain abnormalities brought on by prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). The prevalence of FASD is relatively high, with estimates suggesting that it affects around 4% of the population in Canada. One of the key challenges in addressing the needs of individuals with FASD is that they often experience a range of interrelated difficulties, which can be complex and difficult to manage. For example, individuals with FASD may have difficulty with memory, attention, and learning, which can make it hard for them to perform well in school or on the job. They may also have problems with impulse control, which can lead to difficulties with hyperactivity and impulsivity. They may also have problems with social interactions and communication, and have a higher risk of behvioural and emotional problems such as anxiety, depression and aggression.

PAE also predisposes individuals to heightened sensitivity to stress from infancy to adulthood. Because of this, many people with FASD are more likely to have problems throughout their lives, and PAE is likely to make the negative effects of long-term stress and problems even worse. Therefore, individuals with FASD, their caregivers, and their families require support to prevent and buffer against poor outcomes. To effectively support individuals with FASD, it is important to take a holistic and multidisciplinary approach that addresses the full range of difficulties that individuals with FASD may experience. This may include providing educational, occupational, and behavioral interventions to help individuals with FASD perform better, as as well as providing mental health and social services to help them cope with emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Additionally, providing support for the families and caregivers of individuals with FASD is crucial in order to help them understand the nature of the disorder and how to best support their loved ones. By recognizing and addressing the fact that PAE and ongoing adversity and stress often happen together and affect each other, we are better able to come up with helpful, targeted interventions and, in the end, improve the outcomes for people with FASD.