A national screening tool kit for children and youth identified and potentially affected by FASD has been developed by CAPHC and has been released for wide distribution. The authors of the tool kit have indicated:
"It is extremely important that screening is never used as a substitute for full assessment and diagnosis. Screening tools are not perfect and can only predict the likelihood that a child or youth is at-risk for FASD. Misuse of screening tools has the potential to stigmatize individuals and families and runs contrary to the ethical dictate to ‘do no harm’.
Similarly, screening should not be done where there is no access to diagnostic services or in areas where capacity for diagnosis is so limited that an individual must wait a long time to be seen. In these situations screening is likely to be become a ‘de facto’ diagnosis and not serve the needs of the child or youth.” (Taken from FASD Screening Toolkit)
An early diagnosis is one of the keys to success. Understanding FASD, using effective strategies and accessing interventions can lead to the best possible outcomes for an individual with FASD.
Getting a diagnosis can be a challenge depending on where you live (in other words, who can make a referral or a diagnosis in your area), the level of impact, your age and the ability to obtain medical and social records about possible alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Reasons for getting a diagnosis : There are many reasons why people may pursue a diagnosis. ● It may shed light on certain behaviours or challenges being experienced… and similarly, suggest better and more effective strategies. ● Strategies for ADD/ADHD (commonly given diagnosis) are not proving effective. ● It may provide access to helpful resources. ● Appropriate early interventions can improve outcomes and supportive environments.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Currently in Newfoundland and Labrador, there is no province-wide comprehensive assessment and diagnostic team or service for anyone suspected of having FASD. Until 2015, Dr. Rosales (St. John’s), a retired paediatric geneticist, continued to diagnose and follow individuals with FASD who were referred by their paediatrician or other medical doctor in the absence of any FASD diagnostic team in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Labrador-Grenfell Health Region - Youth/Adolescent Diagnostic Team There is an FASD diagnostic team in the Labrador-Grenfell Health Region (in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and St. Anthony). Eligibility for assessment:
8-18 years old.
Residents born or currently living in the Labrador-Grenfell region.
Referral required; it can come from guardians, physicians, educators, social workers.
NeuroSpark Psychology Dr. Tanya Lentz, R. Psych. Private assessments subject to fees and/or billable through private health insurance. Assessments available for individuals across the lifespan, of any age. Website-https://www.neurosparkpsychology.com Health Education Services Inc. Heather Paul, R. Psych. Private assessments subject to fees and/or billable through private health insurance. Assessments available for individuals across the lifespan, of any age. Emailemail@example.com Telephone: (709)-786-1722 Fax:(709)-786-1705
The most effective diagnostic teams work together across disciplines. Most teams consist of a physician, psychologist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist and a social worker, but will vary in composition depending on your area and access to resources.
(Reference based on Canadian FASD Diagnostic Guidelines)