Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Clinic
The Florida Center for Early Childhood is home to the State’s first and only Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Clinic. The purpose of the clinic is to diagnose issues related to prenatal alcohol exposure, as well as to provide education and training statewide on FASD. The FASD Clinic at The Florida Center evaluates children of all ages.
FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol. Each year in the U.S. between 35,000 and 40,000 babies are born with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe of the disorders.
The best news is FASD is 100% preventable.
Most individuals with FASD are never diagnosed. Problems related to pre-natal alcohol exposure can include language, motor and cognitive delays which can include intellectual disabilities, facial abnormalities, heart defects, and vision and hearing problems. Problems associated with FASD tend to intensify as children become adults.
FASD is a lifelong disability. The brain damage to an unborn baby that is caused when a mother drinks is permanent. However, FASD can be prevented – if a woman does not drink alcohol while she is pregnant. Over 50% of women of childbearing age drink alcohol, and only 39% are aware of FASD. The need for evaluations, training and education is vital. FASD is the leading known cause of intellectual disabilities in western civilization.
The younger the child is diagnosed or identified with FASD and appropriate interventions and services are initiated, the higher the probability they will live independently and function well in society.
Families Moving Forward: The Families Moving Forward Program at The Florida Center helps families and parents of individuals ages 0-13 on the fetal alcohol spectrum of disorders. This is a specific intervention to support parents and caregivers, give them the skills and strategies to care for a child with an FASD, restore optimism and hope to families, and reduce the chance that a child with an FASD will have a secondary disability later in life. For more information, visit the Families Moving Forward website.