Recommendations from a consensus development workshop on the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Australia

Rochelle Watkins, Elizabeth Elliott, Amanda Wilkins, Raewyn Mutch, James Fitzpatrick, Janet Payne, Colleen O'Leary, Heather Jones, Jane Latimer, Lorian Hayes, Jane Halliday, Heather D'Antoine, Sue Miers, Elizabeth Russell, Lucinda Burns, Anne McKenzie, Elizabeth Peadon, Maureen Carter, Carol Bower

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    Abstract

    Background: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are underdiagnosed in Australia, and health professionals have endorsed the need for national guidelines for diagnosis. The aim of this study was to develop consensus recommendations for the diagnosis of FASD in Australia. 

    Methods: 
    A panel of 13 health professionals, researchers, and consumer and community representatives with relevant expertise attended a 2-day consensus development workshop to review evidence on the screening and diagnosis of FASD obtained from a systematic literature review, a national survey of health professionals and community group discussions. The nominal group technique and facilitated discussion were used to review the evidence on screening and diagnosis, and to develop consensus recommendations for the diagnosis of FASD in Australia. 

    Results: 
    The use of population-based screening for FASD was not recommended. However, there was consensus support for the development of standard criteria for referral for specialist diagnostic assessment. Participants developed consensus recommendations for diagnostic categories, criteria and assessment methods, based on the adaption of elements from both the University of Washington 4-Digit Diagnostic Code and the Canadian guidelines for FASD diagnosis. Panel members also recommended the development of resources to: facilitate consistency in referral and diagnostic practices, including comprehensive clinical guidelines and assessment instruments; and to support individuals undergoing assessment and their parents or carers. 

    Conclusions: 
    These consensus recommendations provide a foundation for the development of guidelines and other resources to promote consistency in the diagnosis of FASD in Australia. Guidelines for diagnosis will require review and evaluation in the Australian context prior to national implementation as well as periodic review to incorporate new knowledge. 
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number156
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalBMC Pediatrics
    Volume13
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    Watkins, R., Elliott, E., Wilkins, A., Mutch, R., Fitzpatrick, J., Payne, J., O'Leary, C., Jones, H., Latimer, J., Hayes, L., Halliday, J., D'Antoine, H., Miers, S., Russell, E., Burns, L., McKenzie, A., Peadon, E., Carter, M., & Bower, C. (2013). Recommendations from a consensus development workshop on the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Australia. BMC Pediatrics, 13, 1-10. [156]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-13-156