2015 National FASD Diagnostic Guidelines

How is FASD Diagnosed?

National Guidelines outlining the diagnostic process for FASD have been in place since 2005 in Canada. These National Guidelines were most recently revised in 2015 (http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2015/12/14/cmaj.141593 ).

Making a diagnosis of FASD requires a multidisciplinary team and involves a complex physical and neurodevelopmental assessment. A multidisciplinary team is defined by the involvement of several professional specializations. Core team members will differ across the lifespan from infant to adulthood, these include: Pediatrician/Physician, Child Development Specialist, Psychologist, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists, and a Coordinator. The professional team assesses the following using their particular expertise; family history, maternal alcohol history, physical examination, differential diagnosis, sentinel facial features, and a neurodevelopmental or brain domain assessment. The National Guidelines also makes recommendations on nomenclature, or terms applied for FASD.

The 2015 National Guidelines define FASD as the term that has been adopted to describe a broader spectrum of presentations and disabilities resulting from alcohol exposure in utero. The two current diagnosis for FASD include: 1) FASD with sentinel facial features and 2) FASD without sentinel facial features. A third “at risk for FASD” which accounts for clients that at the time of diagnosis do not meet the full criteria. This category is part of the guidelines but is not a diagnosis of FASD.

For further information on the NW FASD Diagnostic Clinic please contact:

Vanessa Norris, NW FASD Diagnostic Clinic Coordinator

780-357-4996 or email vnorris@cityofgp.com