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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder:
2011 OMHSAS Call to Action

​In 2011, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services' (OMHSAS) Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Services released a Call to Action, “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Awareness, Identification and Intervention for Children in Pennsylvania.” 

This document focuses specifically on the needs of children, adolescents and young adults with or at risk of a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and their family. Areas of priority involve awareness, identification, diagnosis, and intervention.

From the introduction to the document:

In 2009, in support of the Department of Health’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Action Plan (2008), the OMHSAS Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health Services established a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Workgroup to address the behavioral health needs of children and their families affected by an FASD. This Call to Action document reflects the research, discussion and deliberations of local, national and international researchers and clinicians, and the input of families. The document provides recommendations to improve FASD awareness, identification, and intervention in Pennsylvania, with the goal of promoting systems of care to address this challenging problem.

Given that FASD is an invisible disability and therefore is frequently overlooked, affected children may be misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and subject to mismanagement. Typically, children with an FASD want to do well but are limited by cognitive and neurologically based factors beyond their control. When the disorder is recognized and the child and family receive appropriate services and supports, favorable outcomes can be maximized. This Call to Action promotes early intervention to increase the possibility of positive outcomes, and encourages all involved stakeholders to implement appropriate strategies for intervening effectively with children with an FASD and their families.