Long-term outcomes following Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnosis in adulthood

Valerie K. Temple, Sonal Prasad, Svetlana Popova & Ann Lindsay (2020) Long-term outcomes following Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnosis in adulthood, Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2020.1824612



Early diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is known to improve outcomes in children. It is less clear if diagnosis in adulthood also conveys benefits. This study investigated long-term outcomes for individuals diagnosed with FASD after 18 years of age.


Twenty adults aged 18–45 years at FASD diagnosis were interviewed. Pre-diagnosis information was compared to follow-up information gathered between 1 and 11 years later.


Individuals reported high rates of mental health disorders (55%) and unemployment (85%). Pre-diagnosis, 10% received disability income and 15% were eligible for intellectual disability (ID) services. At follow-up, 90% received disability income and 85% were eligible for ID services. All (100%) enacted at least one assessment recommendation and 75% enacted two. Most (75%) reported having a diagnosis was beneficial, providing better adaptation and self-understanding.


An FASD diagnosis in adulthood can benefit individuals through more access to supports/services and greater personal understanding and adaptation.

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