Paley, B., & O’Connor, M. J. (2009). Intervention for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Treatment approaches and case management. Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 15(3), 258-267.

Exposure to alcohol in utero is considered to be the leading cause of developmental disabilities of known etiology. The most severe consequence of such exposure, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is characterized by a distinct constellation of characteristic facial anomalies, growth retardation, and central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. Some individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) do not meet the full criteria for FAS, but instead are diagnosed with partial FAS, alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), or alcohol related birth defects (ARBD). The entire continuum of effects from PAE is increasingly being referred to under the umbrella term of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). An extensive body of research has documented major cognitive, behavioral, adaptive, social, and emotional impairments among individuals with FASDs. Although FAS was identified in the U.S. over 35 years ago, the development, evaluation, and dissemination of evidencebased interventions for individuals with FASDs have lagged behind significantly. Encouragingly, however, in recent years there has been a marked increase in efforts to design and test interventions to remediate the impairments associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. This article will review treatment needs and considerations for individuals with FASDs and their families, current empirically tested treatment approaches, case management issues, and suggestions for future directions in research on the treatment of FASDs. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Peadon, E., Fremantle, E., Bower, C., & Elliott, E. J. (2008). International survey of diagnostic services for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. BMC Pediatrics, 8

Background: Early diagnosis and intervention for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) reduces the risk of developing a range of secondary social, emotional and behavioural problems and provides an opportunity for prevention of further alcohol exposed pregnancies. The objective of this study was to describe specialist clinical service provision for the diagnosis and assessment of children exposed to alcohol in pregnancy. Methods: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic clinics were identified through literature and internet searches. Clinics were sent a questionnaire asking for information on the clinic population, clinic staff, assessment process and other services provided. Results: Questionnaires were completed for 34 clinics: 29 were in North America, 2 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1 in South America. No clinics were identified in Asia or Australasia. There was a variety of funding sources, services offered, clinic populations, staff and methods of assessment. Thirty-three clinics had a multi-disciplinary team. In 32 clinics, at least one member of the team had specialist training in assessment of FASD. Neurobehavioural assessment was completed in 32 clinics. Eleven clinics used more than one set of diagnostic criteria or an adaptation of published criteria. Conclusion: Diagnostic services are concentrated in North America. Most responding clinics are using a multidisciplinary approach with neurobehavioural assessment as recommended in published guidelines. Agreement on diagnostic criteria would enable comparison of clinical and research data, and enhance FASD research particularly for intervention trials. © 2008 Peadon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Peadon, E., Rhys-Jones, B., Bower, C., & Elliott, E. J. (2009). Systematic review of interventions for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. BMC Pediatrics, 9

Background: Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) may have significant neurobehavioural problems persisting into adulthood. Early diagnosis may decrease the risk of adverse life outcomes. However, little is known about effective interventions for children with FASD. Our aim is to conduct a systematic review of the literature to identify and evaluate the evidence for pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for children with FASD. Methods: We did an electronic search of the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, CINAHL and ERIC for clinical studies (Randomized controlled trials (RCT), quasi RCT, controlled trials and pre- and post-intervention studies) which evaluated pharmacological, behavioural, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychosocial and educational interventions and early intervention programs. Participants were aged under 18 years with a diagnosis of a FASD. Selection of studies for inclusion and assessment of study quality was undertaken independently by two reviewers. Meta-analysis was not possible due to diversity in the interventions and outcome measures. Results: Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria. Methodological weaknesses were common, including small sample sizes; inadequate study design and short term follow up. Pharmacological interventions, evaluated in two studies (both RCT) showed some benefit from stimulant medications. Educational and learning strategies (three RCT) were evaluated in seven studies. There was some evidence to suggest that virtual reality training, cognitive control therapy, language and literacy therapy, mathematics intervention and rehearsal training for memory may be beneficial strategies. Three studies evaluating social communication and behavioural strategies (two RCT) suggested that social skills training may improve social skills and behaviour at home and Attention Process Training may improve attention. Conclusion: There is limited good quality evidence for specific interventions for managing FASD, however seven randomized controlled trials that address specific functional deficits of children with FASD are underway or recently completed. © 2009 Peadon et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Premji, S., Benzies, K., Serrett, K., & Hayden, K. A. (2007). Research-based interventions for children and youth with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Revealing the gap. Child: Care, Health and Development, 33(4), 389-397.

Background: Alcohol use during pregnancy can result in a continuum of effects including growth deficits, dysmorphology and/or complex patterns of behavioural and cognitive difficulties that influence an individual’s functioning throughout their lifespan. We conducted a systematic review to identify research-based interventions for children and youth with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and areas for future study. Methods: We identified the substantive literature by searching 40 peer-reviewed and 23 grey literature databases, as well as reference lists. We hand-searched eight relevant journals, and undertook a systematic search of Internet sites and review of reports and documents received from key stakeholders. Two reviewers independently assessed eligibility and quality, and extracted data. Given the small number of studies that met all inclusion criteria, both experimental and quasi-experimental studies were included. Results: Ten intervention studies were identified, of which three were experimental or quasi-experimental, and four were non-experimental. Despite multiple attempts, three studies (two in foreign languages and one unpublished) could not be acquired. A meta-analysis could not be undertaken because the included studies examined different interventions or outcomes. Interventions targeted in the included studies were as follows: (i) psychostimulant medications (methyphenidate, pemoline and dextroamphetamine); and (ii) Cognitive Control Therapy. The identified studies were limited by very small sample sizes and weak designs. Conclusion: There is limited scientific evidence upon which to draw recommendations regarding efficacious interventions for children and youth with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Clinicians, researchers, service providers, educators, policy makers, affected children and youth and their families, and others need to urgently collaborate to develop a comprehensive research agenda for this population. © 2006 The Authors; Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Premji, S. S., & Semenic, S. (2009). Do canadian prenatal record forms integrate evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis of a FASD? Canadian Journal of Public Health, 100(4), 274-280.

Objectives: Prenatal alcohol exposure is a significant public health issue with lifelong psychological, emotional and financial costs associated with caring for an affected individual. In 2005, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch developed evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis of a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). We examined the extent to which prenatal records across Canadian provinces and territories currently integrate key recommendations from these guidelines. Methods: A content analysis of prenatal record forms retrieved from each Canadian province and territory (N=12) was conducted to identify all questions or intervention prompts related to prenatal screening, exposure assessment, counseling or referral for maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. Findings were reviewed in relation to recommendations extrapolated from the Canadian guidelines and the FASD literature. Results: All the prenatal record forms contained questions to assess maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. However, the dimensions of alcohol consumption assessed and the format, wording and number of items related to each dimension varied markedly across provinces/territories. Only five prenatal record forms included a validated screening tool to identify risky alcohol drinking behaviour. Most of the forms lacked prompts to encourage providers to intervene or refer pregnant clients with high-risk drinking behaviour. Conclusion: Integration of the Canadian recommendations into Canadian prenatal record forms may be an effective public health strategy for helping identify pregnancies at high risk for alcohol exposure, reducing the incidence of a FASD through appropriate prenatal intervention and referral, and facilitating early diagnosis of a FASD. © Canadian Public Health Association, 2009. All rights reserved.

Rasmussen, C., Horne, K., & Witol, A. (2006). Neurobehavioral functioning in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Child Neuropsychology, 12(6), 453-468. doi:10.1080/09297040600646854

Neurobehavioral functioning of 50 Canadian children diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) was evaluated. The aims of this study were to identify specific areas of weakness in neurobehavioral functioning, to examine whether neurobehavioral functioning was related to various predictor variables, and to determine which measures differentiated between children given a brain score of 2 (possible dysfunction) and 3 (probable dysfunction). Participants displayed difficulties with many aspects of intelligence, memory, executive functioning, and attention. Measures of Full scale and Verbal IQ, as well as memory for faces and numbers differentiated between children with a brain 2 and 3 ranking. An interesting pattern of strengths and weaknesses emerged as well as significant differences related to ethnic background, gender, and age. Aboriginal children and Caucasian children with FASD do not appear to show the same pattern of strengths and weaknesses in neurobehavioral functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)