FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS
FREE Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Summit
Hosted by The Human Development Center of New Orleans
June 16-17, 2023
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person who was exposed to alcohol before birth. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems. The CDC estimates that as many as 1 in 20 second graders has an FASD. This is about twice as high as CDC estimates for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The CDC and WHO state on their websites that FASD is the leading cause of developmental disabilities in the U.S. and the world, respectively. Yet, there is no code in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for diagnosing FASD.
Research shows that very few children with FASD ever receive a diagnosis of FASD- but many are misdiagnosed with other conditions. Because FASD results in a brain injury (i.e., damage to the corpus callosum), individuals with FASD experience poor executive functioning, short-term memory, and other cognitive impairments. Research has shown that typical operant conditioning methods used by BCBA therapists are ineffective at best and often counterproductive because the frontal cortex (higher-order thinking) does not have pathways to lower regions of the brain. To illustrate, a person with FASD who puts his hand on a hot stove on Monday- gets burned (punished) may put his hand on a hot stove on Tuesday because messages about the experience did not get sent/received across the corpus callosum. This phenomenon prevents typical operant conditioning from establishing the good old stimulus-response pattern sought by behavior analysts. These kids often present with ADD or ADHD behavior. The drugs that are used to ease such conditions are often counterproductive for people with FASD.
As a result of the previous two phenomena- children with FASD often are viewed as exhibiting challenging behavior- and a chain of events usually gets established, which results in these children being seen as “trouble-makers” or as behaviorally challenged- which starts the cascade of events that frequently ends up with them being expelled, or dropping out of school.
The Human Development Center of New Orleans is hosting a FREE FASD Summit from June 16-17 to raise awareness of FASD and begin building engagement with people with lived experience and those who serve individuals and families with FASD. You can join virtually or in person! Learn more and register by visiting: https://lsuh.sc/ahfasdsummit2023