Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) represents a spectrum of disorders that describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual who has been prenatally exposed to alcohol. Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading cause of preventable intellectual disabilities. Of all the substances of abuse, including heroin, cocaine and marijuana, alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus. FASD last a lifetime. There is no cure for FASD, but research shows that early recognition, intervention and treatment services can improve a child’s development. (Pediatrics, 2015; Institute of Medicine, 1996; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2017)
IHR provides Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder-related services on behalf of the Mass. Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.
FASD coordination consists of the following:
- Serve as a centralized resource for issues related to FASD.
- Develop and build an FASD Task Force.
- Provide FASD trainings upon request to a variety of state and local organizations
- Provide diagnostic and intervention resources to families of children and young adults who may have a FASD.
- Build FASD diagnostic capacity with Boston Children’s Hospital; maintain a list of other in-state resources.
- Provide FASD prevention, identification, and intervention training and resources to DPH/BSAS licensed ambulatory and residential treatment programs.
For training, technical assistance, caregiver support and resources, please contact Laura Bedard and Kristen Eriksen, MA FASD State Coordinators at:
massFAS.org offers resources and a free weekly online support group for parents and caregivers.
Kristen Eriksen adopted infant twins who were subsequently diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder or FASD. She wants to send a strong message to all women of child-bearing age about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.