Understanding Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): a Multidisciplinary Assessment Team Model of Care for those referred to a FASD Assessment clinic and the Implications for Intervention and Education about the impact of FASD on young people

Amanda Simon1, Nadishani (Nadi) Fernando1, Diana Barnett1, Ronalda Hoffman1, Tiffany Allen1

1Children’s Hospital At Westmead, WESTMEAD, AUSTRALIA

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) occurs in all parts of Australian society and is a permanent acquired brain injury caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy.  The rates of FASD within the community are estimated at 2% of the population with impairments, which are lifelong. These include impairments which can affect motor skills, language skills, academic achievement, memory, attention, affect regulation and adaptive behaviour (including social skills). Therefore, given the diffuse nature of functional impairments, this is a diagnosis of relevance to all allied health professionals.

Method: At the Children’s Hospital at Westmead CICADA Centre, a multidisciplinary assessment team including an Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Clinical Psychologist and the recent addition of a Social Worker work together with a Paediatrician provide a state-wide assessment service for young people (aged 0-18) referred following concerns surrounding the impact of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.  We are in the process of assessing clinical data of patients that have presented to our service and will be using case examples to outline and illustrate the unique profiles of young people diagnosed with FASD.

Results: Between January 2018 to December 2018, ~23 young people (aged 0-17 years) received a diagnosis of FASD following a multidisciplinary diagnostic assessment.  Each child’s neurodevelopmental was assessed by a multidisciplinary team, and as part of our presentation, we will provide data of the assessments conducted through The Children’s Hospital at Westmead FASD Assessment Service during 2018.   Analysis of this data is currently being finalised, however, results will be provided at the time of presentation.  In reporting these results, we will provide information on the range of assessments used within a FASD assessment team, and recommendations for intervention to improve functional abilities.

Discussion: This presentation will provide information on the diagnostic process (including how to apply the Australian FASD Diagnostic Guidelines) and functional impacts of FASD relevant to all allied health professionals.  In addition, we aim to provide information on the rate and range of impairments seen within the FASD population, and increase understanding of intervention approaches that can be utilised when working with young people with FASD and their families.


Amanda Simon is a speech pathologist at Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney NSW.

She has over 25 years’ experience in almost all areas of paediatric speech pathology practice including clinical work with children in out of home care, infants and children with communication and feeding difficulties, children with literacy difficulties, children with craniofacial anomalies including cleft palate and adolescents with mental health issues.

She has a particular interest in the interface between communication development and psychosocial difficulties in children and adolescents.

Amanda currently works as a speech pathologist in the Fetal Alcohol spectrum Disorder assessment clinic at Children’s Hospital at Westmead amongst her other roles at the hospital.


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2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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