Original ArticleResponding to the Challenge of Early Intervention for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum DisordersOlson, Heather Carmichael PhD; Jirikowic, Tracy PhD; Kartin, Deborah PhD; Astley, Susan PhDAuthor Information Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine (Dr Carmichael Olson), the Department of Psychosocial and Community Health, School of Nursing (Dr Jirikowic), the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine (Drs Jirikowic and Astley), and Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, School of Medicine (Dr Kartin), University of Washington, Seattle. Corresponding author: Heather Carmichael Olson, PhD, Child Psychiatry Research, 1100 Olive Way, Suite 800, Met Park West Bldg, Children's Hospital Child Psychiatry Research, Seattle, WA 98101 (e-mail: [email protected]). This work was also facilitated by grant P30 HD02274 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The authors gratefully acknowledge the Center on Human Development and Disability, Washington State Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for support during the preparation of this manuscript. Infants & Young Children: April 2007 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 172-189 doi: 10.1097/01.IYC.0000264484.73688.4a Buy Metrics Abstract Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to significant neurodevelopmental disabilities, now recognized as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). This includes both fetal alcohol syndrome, a lifelong birth defect, and a wider range of enduring learning and behavior deficits often called alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND). Diagnostic classification systems have been developed to identify children with FASD, and early interventionists from multiple disciplines can be central in identification and referral for diagnosis, and in providing the known protective influence of intervention early in life. With the recent federal mandates to better address needs of children born prenatally affected by substances, or those impacted by abuse and/or neglect, by referring them for screening and possible early intervention services, there is heightened need for providers to understand FASD. There is a growing body of research data describing the teratogenic effects of alcohol on central nervous system function and physical development, the diversity of children with prenatal alcohol exposure and their families, and the developmental and behavioral characteristics of this clinical population. This article reviews the latest research evidence, bearing in mind what is important to early intervention. This article also gives practical guidance on FASD prevention, methods for early screening, and referral of young children for diagnosis of FASD (and referral for needed services once diagnosed), and how to provide education, support, advocacy assistance, and anticipatory guidance for families raising children with FASD. ©2007Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.