Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Program
VIP knows that some children face additional challenges from birth. The reality is many children face a difficult start due to prenatal alcohol exposure. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a range of lifelong neurodevelopmental disorders that occurs from prenatal exposure to alcohol. When a pregnant mother drinks, often before she realizes she is pregnant, the alcohol she ingests can have a significant impact on her developing baby’s brain. This change in the baby’s development often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed as ADHD, and can lead to behavioral challenges, issues with a child’s development and executive functioning abilities, and potential learning disabilities. Recent research indicates that between 2-5% of children have a FASD, which is a higher number than those affected by autism. The rate of FASD within children in foster care is even higher.
Two important Protective Factors have been shown to improve outcomes for children with FASDs. These include 1) Early Identification and Diagnosis, and 2) growing up in a Stable and Nurturing Home Environment. VIP offers vital services that address both factors.
FASD Medical Clinic
Early Identification and Diagnosis:
VIP’s FASD Medical Clinic at the LAC+USC HUB provides medical screenings and assessments for children suspected of being prenatally exposed to alcohol. Early assessment and diagnosis are vitally important because increased resources and supports can be put into place that can help improve outcomes for children with FASDs. To refer a child for a FASD medical screening or assessment, please follow the instructions below:
For foster children with open DCFS cases – the DCFS CSW completes a mHUB referral for the LAC+USC HUB, and indicates FASD Medical Screening in the Comments section.
For children with custodial parent, adoptive parent, or legal guardian – Caregiver can contact FASD Medical Clinic case worker, Yesenia Enciso at 323-409-3802 or email her at [email protected]
VIP-CMHC FASD Program
Stable/Nurturing Home Environment:
VIP Community Mental Health Center’s FASD Intervention Program provides specialized services to support and improve outcomes for families and children with FASDs. Because many children with FASDs present with neurodevelopmental and behavioral challenges, it is critically important to support the caregiver, in addition to the child with FASD. Caregivers are the essential pathway to a better life for children with FASD, which is why we offer several caregiver-focused interventions:
Triumph Through the Challenges of FASD is a six-session psycho-educational parenting class that increases caregivers’ knowledge and understanding of how prenatal alcohol exposure has impacted their child. The goal of this curriculum is that through knowledge, coping skills, and problem-solving practice, parents/caregivers will be able to access resources, and develop and experiment with strategies to discover which are most beneficial in working with their child’s current issues. There are six class cycles per year, four in English and two in Spanish.
Families Moving Forward (FMF) Program is a research-validated intervention that is a caregiver-focused, educative and facilitative counseling treatment model to help children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and their families. The FMF Program accomplishes several goals, including 1) providing ongoing support to parents and helping them better understand their challenging children, 2) helping parents hone the skills they already have, while adding specialized parenting techniques to their caregiving repertoire, and 3) helping families boost their progress in a positive direction, giving them reason to be more optimistic about the future, and helping reduce the chance their children will have secondary disabilities later in life.
Services for Children/Teens with FASD In addition to caregiver support interventions, VIP’s FASD Intervention Program also offers various types of therapy and support services to children and teens with FASD. Children and teens with FASD can present with difficulties and challenges, including problems with emotional and behavioral regulation, social skill deficits, executive function deficits, and sensory processing issues. Services that can help support children and teens with FASD include individual therapy, family therapy, dyadic therapy, group therapy, individual rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and case management to help with additional linkages and services.
For additional information about VIP CMHC’s FASD Intervention Program services, please contact Michele Walker-Bauer, Ph.D. at 323-221-4134 ext. 107 or [email protected] or Ana Cardenas, LCSW at 323-221-4134 ext. 158 or [email protected]
FASD Outreach and Trainings
Staff at the VIP CMHC FASD Intervention Program also work to increase FASD awareness at the county and state level, through annual family events, trainings and conference presentations. Currently, experienced staff are providing several trainings focused on increasing awareness, knowledge, and skills to different types of providers, including mental health clinicians, DCFS staff, case managers, educators, and medical providers. Trainings offered include:
FASD 101: Increasing Awareness and Improving Outcomes – 3-hour training
FASD Part 2: Reframing, Building Positive Relationships, and Helpful Interventions – 12-hour training
Links for helpful information on FASD:
• National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
• CDC – FASD Homepage
Parenting a child with FASD:
• FASD – Strategies Not Solutions
– this is an easy to read, informative document.
• Parenting Children Affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome