Working with Individuals with FASD in Substance Use Treatment

This guide, Moving Towards FASD-informed Care in Substance Use Treatment outlines current practices to support individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), who are in treatment for substance use. This guide, provides consolidated and expanded knowledge regarding appropriate substance use treatment approaches for individuals with FASD. It adopts the perspective that individuals with FASD can benefit from treatment support that is well-suited to their unique neurodevelopment needs.

This guide is grounded in the belief that people with FASD are capable of change and growth. It is not a question of whether an individual with FASD may benefit from substance-abuse treatment. Rather it is incumbent the service providers to ask how they might support growth. And doing so they must consider ways in which they can adapt treatment to best support this population by providing appropriate FASD-informed services.

The recommended practises in this guide are based on findings that highlighted the need for FASD informed substance use treatment to best serve the FASD population. Being FASD-informed involves understanding FASD, as a disorder, while simultaneously acknowledging the individuality of each person. From this balanced perspective, we can then evolve and advance, approaches to working with individuals with FASD to support positive outcomes. Individuals with FASD require appropriate services that are tailored for their unique strengths, and challenges.

The results from this project made it clear that there is “no one size fits all” model for substance use treatment for individuals with FASD. It’s recommendations are a starting point to evolve practices as more is learned about substance use in relation to FASD and evaluating the impacts of treatment.