Day 37 of 99 Days to FASDay: Early Identification is Key to Success

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Day 37 of our 99 day journey to FASDay and the last of our Myths just may be the most important Fact. There is always hope. This was addressed in an earlier post, however I found another study entitled Early Interventions for Children with FASD by  Blair Paley, PhD David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, USA (February 2011) which revealed some promising outcomes.

The following summary of information is taken directly from the Report. (You can find the full report by clicking on the above link).

The importance of early identification is highlighted by findings that an early diagnosis is one of the strongest predictors of more positive outcomes for these individuals.

Programs for Mothers with Substance Abuse Problems

The program New Choices provides services for mothers with substance abuse problems and their children aged 0 to 5 years, including addiction counseling, parent education and counseling, peer support and enrichment programs for children. A preliminary evaluation found that mothers demonstrated improvements in depressive symptoms and empathy for their children, and children exhibited improvements in social development.

Parent Focused Intervention

While not focusing exclusively on very young children with FASD, some studies have nonetheless included younger children in their samples. One promising approach, Families Moving Forward (FMF), provides supportive behavioural consultation to promote parental self-efficacy and reduce child behaviour problems in families raising children aged 4 to 11 years with FASD. Caregivers who participated in the FMF group reported greater improvements in parenting efficacy and greater reductions in child behaviour problems, compared to caregivers in the community standard of care group.

Adaptive Skills Training

To address the lack of safety awareness often seen in children with FASD, a computer-based intervention was designed to increase fire and street safety skills in children aged 4 to 10 years old with FASD. Children receiving the intervention demonstrated significantly greater gains in safety-related knowledge and appropriate behavioural responses in comparison to the control group.

Conclusions

Encouragingly, a small but growing number of studies have demonstrated with both animals and humans that early intervention can at least partially remediate some of the primary deficits associated with PAE. Such approaches are promising as they may also have the potential to mitigate some of the serious adverse outcomes often seen in individuals with FASD later in life. However, there remains much work to be done in order to identify affected children as early as possible and to develop a comprehensive continuum of services for these children and their families.

Over the next week we will continue looking at some more encouraging studies, interventions and outcomes.

 


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