A multi-disciplinary FASD assessment and diagnosis is a key factor in helping individuals with FASD and their caregivers understand their particular strengths and challenges. Research has shown that FASD assessment and diagnosis early in life is a strong protective factor in avoiding secondary vulnerabilities, but utilizing the knowledge gained from assessment may lead to better outcomes if conducted in youth or adulthood, as well.
Community capacity for multi-disciplinary assessments remains low, especially for adults, and the cost can be prohibitive. In 2016, CFAN funded assessments for 15 children, 13 youth and 12 adults through Medigene and Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society. As well, as part of their FASD program, Siksika Health held assessment clinics for 6 individuals.
FASD Assessment & Diagnosis Survey
Youth/adults report the following after undergoing FASD assessment and diagnosis in CFAN-funded programs:
- 100% understand FASD better than before
- 100% understand their own strengths and weaknesses better
- 100% understand their own condition better
- 100% understand better how they think and learn
- 100% learned of more programs and services
- 80% were assisted by the clinic to get recommended supports/services
- 90% intend to access recommended supports/services
- 95% felt the information they gained through assessment will help them in the future
Comments from Clients and Youth/Adults Post-Clinic
It was nice to have our struggles validated and know we were good parents.
Appreciate the help with all of the applications (Disability Tax, AISH), that process is overwhelming.
"It's great to understand her strengths and weaknessess. We've already seen a big change just by changing our language. We can control how we interact with her, but we can't control her."
CFAN Priority Outcomes
In alignment with the Best Practices research findings, CFAN's priority outcomes for FASD assessment and diagnosis are as follows:
- Assessments are funded, facilitated and accessible for the Calgary region
- Individuals with FASD will understand their unique capacities
- Individuals will have an increased understanding of FASD
- Assessment and diagnosis will be linked to new and accessible supports
After their dependent youth, child or adult was assessed, caregivers reported the following:
- 100% had a lot of confidence in the assessment results
- 100% were very satisfied with the assessment process
- 100% completely agreed they received what they hoped to gain at the clinic
- 100% completely agreed they understood FASD better
- 100% completely agreed they better understand their dependent's strengths/weaknesses and how they learn
- 100% completely agree the recommendations made by the clinic team will be useful for them to support their dependent and plan to access supports in the future
The report is a great document; a little hard (upsetting) to read at first, but filled with excellent information and recommendations. It has helped get PDD and AISH for my granddaughter.
I think knowing how I think and doing things better will make my depression go away. I hope so. I'm going to try.