Research examines devastating impact of fetal alcohol syndrome
New review of evidence shows that children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are affected by a range of problems, including anxiety, depression, aggression, delinquency and diminished learning capacity.
Published today in the journal Pediatrics, the research is the first to comprehensively describe behaviours in children with FASD observed by teachers and parents. The study, conducted by University of Sydney, used an empirically based assessment system.
Three main kinds of behavioural problems in children with FASD were examined:
- Internalizing behaviors, such as anxiety, withdrawal or depression
- Externalizing behaviors, such as aggression, delinquency
- Other problems, such as difficulties with social skills, thought processing and attention.
FASD impairs social interactions, academic performance, and mental health. The need for early intervention strategies is urgent, both to help children with self-regulation and to support teachers and caregivers in managing behaviour at school and at home.
Without appropriate assessment and treatment, these children experience lifelong difficulties with mental ill health, substance abuse and unemployment.