Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - FASD
Developing a National Screening Tool Kit for Those Identified and Potentially Affected by FASD
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term that describes the range of effects that can be caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. The prevalence of FASD in Canada is estimated at 9.1 per 1,000 live births, and the estimated lifetime cost for one individual with FASD is one million dollars.
On March 1, 2005 the Public Health Agency of Canada endorsed the Canadian Guidelines for the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The capacity, however, of diagnostic clinics is low compared to the prevalence of FASD. The validity and reliability of available screening tools has not yet been verified, limiting the ability of health care and allied professionals across Canada to consistently screen for FASD and refer for further assessment and diagnosis.
In partnership with many FASD experts and organizations, CAPHC is currently facilitating a national initiative, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, entitled: “Developing a National Screening Tool Kit for those Identified and Potentially Affected by FASD”. Drs. Albert Chudley, Sterling Clarren, Gideon Koren, and Ted Rosales are the content experts leading the project Steering Committee.
The primary objectives of this initiative are to:
- Survey and critically evaluate FASD screening tools and methods in use in Canada for referral to or acceptance into diagnostic clinics;
- Evaluate practical values (sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values) of these tools;
- Develop practical guidelines (Tool Kit), based on the identified and evaluated tools.