Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD is a medical diagnostic term that describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol prenatally (Canadian Diagnostic Guidelines 2015). FASD is often referred to as a hidden or invisible disability because most people affected have no noticeable physical features. FASD can impair a person’s learning, physical, cognitive, behaviour and development. The effects of FASD are lifelong. Health Canada estimates that nine in every 1,000 children born in Canada have FASD. Below is information about FASD diagnostic services and supports available for caregivers with children/youth who have been exposed to alcohol prenatally.
FASD Diagnostic Coordinators The FASD Diagnostic Coordinators work in partnership with the Manitoba FASD Centre. They screen referrals of children and youth living in the region to ensure diagnostic criteria is met. Providing support and information to families on the journey through assessment, FASD diagnostic coordinators provide follow-up and education post assessment. They also locally host an eight-week informational series on FASD called Building Circles of Support. In addition, they provide education and information for the greater community on FASD through public presentations.
Should you want to discuss a potential referral for a child or youth up to age 18 for an FASD assessment or to obtain information, contact the appropriate Interlake-Eastern RHA’s FASD diagnostic coordinator, according to where you live:
The Manitoba FASD Centre will accept referrals for children up to the age of 18. A referral form must be completed and sent to one of the FASD Diagnostic Coordinators in your area. The referral criteria for assessment is based upon the 2015 Canadian Diagnostic Guidelines and includes:
Confirmed and reliable prenatal alcohol exposure information;
Consent from the child’s or adolescent’s legal guardian;
Identified developmental and learning concerns.
Should you have any questions regarding the criteria or the referral and assessment process, please contact one of the FASD Diagnostic Coordinators in your area.
Building Circles of Support Building Circles of Support is a free eight-week informational series offered through MBTelehealth locations within the region. Building Circles of Support is for caregivers of children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Please contact an FASD Diagnostic Coordinator directly for more information and to register.