Needs of Persons with FASD: A Descriptive Case Study
Darlene Brackenreed

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe persons who were affected by their mother’s consumption of alcohol while in the womb. The extent and appearance of developmental characteristics and cognitive deficits for a person with FASD are influenced by several factors: the frequency, timing and amount of alcohol consumed, the age and nutritional status of the mother, the level of intelligence and educational attainment of the parents and the age of the child over time (causing changes in the expression of some characteristics). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (currently DSM-IV, with the DSM-V around the corner) does not list FASD as a clinical disorder, which affects the abilities and attitudes of physicians regarding the investigation into, diagnosis, and treatment of alcohol-related disorders. This may contribute to the harmful social perception that controlled alcohol intake may not be severely damaging to a fetus. For the purpose of this study an adult with FASD and his wife, given the pseudonyms of Matthew and Nadine respectively, were interviewed to learn of his condition of FASD. Their responses to the interview questions identified key areas of concern and need that are largely not being met. The results indicate that while there are some differences in perception between the two, there is consistent information suggesting that this population of special needs is largely over-looked and under-served in northeaster Ontario, Canada.

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