A qualitative evaluation of caregivers' experiences, understanding and outcomes following diagnosis of FASD
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Introduction: The effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol are wide-ranging and pervasive in nature. In response to growing concerns about the lifelong disabilities related to prenatal alcohol exposure, a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) diagnostic clinic was established in 2012. This was the first multi-disciplinary service operating permanently within an Australian health service. The current study aimed to explore the lived experience of the diagnostic process for caregivers of children with FASD. Methods: Twelve caregivers were approached and ten participated in audiotaped interviews about caring for a child with FASD. Qualitative analysis was undertaken on transcribed interviews using NVivo 10 for thematic analysis. Results: The major themes that emerged were: a desire for future support for their child although uncertainty about how this support could be accessed; an understanding of FASD prior to assessment but a concerted concern that this condition was not recognised as a disability across educational and related settings; that a formal assessment process provided validation for caregiver concerns and that caregivers felt respected and understood by the clinical team during this process. Discussion: These findings highlight the concerns of caregivers, emphasising both the importance of diagnostic services and the need for provision of further support beyond diagnosis for a child with FASD. What does this paper add? This study provides information on the lived experiences of caregivers who attended the first multi-disciplinary FASD assessment and diagnostic service in Australia. This study provides valuable insight into the ongoing difficulties that families are experiencing following diagnosis in the current Australian context.
Research in Developmental Disabilities
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified