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JOURNAL

Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment

Becoming FASD Informed: Strengthening Practice and Programs Working with Women with FASD

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Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment 2016:Suppl. 1 13-20

Commentary

Published on 08 May 2016

DOI: 10.4137/SART.S34543


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Abstract

There is growing appreciation among health and social care providers, especially those working in community-based programs with women or young people with substance use problems and/or who have experienced violence, maltreatment, or trauma, that a high number of their program participants may have been prenatally exposed to alcohol or have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). This article provides a conceptualization of the key components of an FASD-informed approach. Drawing on the emerging literature and the author's research identifying the support needs and promising approaches in working with women, young adults, and adults with FASD, as well as evaluations of FASD-related programs, the article discusses what an FASD-informed approach is, why it is centrally important in working with women, adults, and young people who may have FASD, underlying principles of an FASD-informed approach, and examples of FASD-informed adaptations to practice, programming, and the physical environment. In this discussion, the benefits of using an FASD-informed approach for service providers and women living with FASD and their families, as well as conceptualization of FASD-informed policy and systems are highlighted.



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