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New “Ask the Expert” Examines Issues in Adopting and Parenting Children with an FASD

November 15, 2015

In honor of November as National Adoption Month, our new Ask the Expert column features an interview with the FASD Center for Excellence’s FASD Specialist, Dan Dubovsky. In addition to 30+ years as a trainer and provider specializing in FASD, and an extensive background consulting with biological and adoptive parents of children with an FASD, Dan also raised Bill, his son with an FASD. In this edition of Ask the Expert, Dan discusses the unique issues of parenting a child with an FASD, modifications that can increase parenting effectiveness, and the importance of identifying the special gifts of a child with an FASD.

To read our interview with Dan, click here.

AAP Supports No Alcohol Use During Pregnancy

November 13, 2015

Confirms No Safe Amount of Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released an article in the November 2015 issue of Pediatrics (volume 136, issue 5) titled Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The article provides a history of FASD, and discusses the causes and effects, the medical, cognitive, and behavioral problems associated with FASD, common co-occurring conditions, diagnosis and treatment, and how pediatricians and the Medical Home model can help individuals and families living with these disorders.

The release of this article supports the AAP’s recently issued Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Toolkit, which was developed to raise awareness, promote FASD surveillance and screening, and ensure that all children with an FASD receive appropriate and timely interventions. The Toolkit links to a variety of resources related to FASD, including identification, diagnosis, referral, and patient management.

To read the new article in full, click here. To see the FASD Toolkit, click here. And remember the AAP article’s vital FASD prevention message (p. e1403): “There is no known absolutely safe quantity, frequency, type, or timing of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.”

MOFAS Has a New Look!

November 13, 2015

Visitors to the website of the Minnesota Organization on FAS (MOFAS) may have noticed that the site looks very different these days. For the past year, MOFAS has been gathering input to inform a total ‘refresh’ of the site, and that refresh has now been launched.

As Minnesota’s statewide leader in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), MOFAS has sought to raise the standards for support and resources, research, screening, grants, and awareness through the new website. To do this, they sought the help of parents and caregivers, professionals, clinicians, birth moms, pregnant women, their internal staff, and even people who had never visited the site to, develop a new look and design that is more visually dynamic and easier to use and navigate.

The FASD Center for Excellence congratulates our partners at MOFAS on the launch of the new site, and the greater utility it will provide to the FASD community. To see the new look, visit

Register for the MOFAS Annual FASD Matters Conference

October 30, 2015

The annual FASD Matters conference, coordinated by the Minnesota Organization on FAS (MOFAS), will take place November 19-20, 2015 at the Minneapolis Marriott NW in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. This year’s theme is FASD Across the Life Span. MOFAS has announced an extensive lineup of keynote speakers and special guests, including the FASD Center’s FASD Specialist Dan Dubovsky, MSW, as well as Jeffrey Wozniak, PhD, LP, Director of the Child and Adolescent Neuropsychology Clinic at the University of Minnesota and the author of the FASD Center’s July 2015 Ask the Expert on nutrition for newborns.

In addition to speakers and workshops, the 2015 conference will mark the debut of a new documentary titled The Barefoot Bandit, the true story of Colton Harris Moore, a young man with an FASD who stole an airplane and crash-landed in the Bahamas (and lived).

Registration for the conference is required. Scholarships and continuing education credits will be available for qualified registrants. To learn more about the conference or to download the appropriate forms, visit the official conference page.

Raising Awareness in Vital Areas in November

October 30, 2015

November is the official awareness month for several important issues related to FASD.


November is National Adoption Month. Since 1995, this month has been set aside to raise awareness of the importance of adopting children and youth from foster care. Many children born with an FASD become foster children, sometimes repeatedly. Initiatives such as National Adoption Month help to spotlight the need for loving families to care for these and all children who are awaiting adoption, and also provide valuable information so that prospective parents can make informed decisions about the adoption process.

The Administration for Children & Families (ACF), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), provides information about the history and background of National Adoption Month, as well as state-by-state information about adopting a child; click here to learn more. Also, visit the FASD Center’s Fact Sheets, Booklets and Manuals page to read our popular “What You Need to Know” fact sheet Adopting and Fostering Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Hunger and Homelessness

Each November is also National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (2014 AHAR), the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night was 578,424 in January 2014.

A variety of factors contribute to and result from homelessness, including lack of affordable housing, unemployment, mental health issues, and substance use disorders. Individuals with an FASD have also been shown to be at a high risk for experiencing homelessness during their lifetimes.

SAMHSA’s Homelessness Resource Center is an interactive learning community dedicated to disseminating knowledge and best practices to reduce homelessness. It includes providers, consumers, policymakers, researchers, and public agencies at federal, state, and local levels. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides the USDA National Hunger Clearinghouse & Summer Meal Site Location tool, which helps those in need find food assistance nationwide.

New Version of International Classification of Diseases Released

October 15, 2015

On October 1, 2015, a new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) was released. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the federal agency responsible for use of the ICD in the United States, has developed a clinical modification (CM) of the previous ICD version, known as the ICD-10. The new, modified version will be known as the ICD-10-CM, and will be used to classify diagnoses and reasons for visits in American health care settings.

With this release, an ICD-10-CM code will now be needed for all diagnoses covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), not just for Medicare and Medicaid claims. Therefore, in order for a diagnosis or procedure to be submitted for reimbursement, an ICD-10-CM code is now required.

The lack of specific codes for diagnosing FASD has long been a subject of debate among providers, not just in the ICD but also in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the standard text used by clinicians to diagnose and classify mental disorders. This month, the FASD Center for Excellence’s new FASD in Review article examines the implications of the new ICD release for FASD identification and treatment; see below or click here.

To see the NCHS’ official product page for the ICD-10-CM, click here.

FASD in Review Examines New ICD-10-CM Release

October 15, 2015

This month, the FASD Center for Excellence’s FASD in Review series examines the newly released version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), to be known as the ICD-10-CM. This release has significant implications for care provision across settings, including addressing FASD.

This edition of FASD in Review looks at the history of the ICD and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and crosswalks available codes in each text that relate to the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Addressing the need for diagnostic codes related to FASD is vital for ensuring that providers are adequately reimbursed for addressing these disorders.

To read this edition of FASD in Review, click here.

Materials from FASD Awareness Day Webinar Now Available!

September 30, 2015

The SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence is proud to announce the release of the materials from our 2015 FASD Awareness Day Webinar. Featuring a facilitated panel discussion with a diverse group of service providers, the Webinar addressed topics such as effective prenatal and post-natal care; FASD prevention through approaches such as Project CHOICES, Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), and the Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP); and treating individuals who may have an FASD.

Nearly 300 participants called into the Webinar; the main PowerPoint and a combined audio/video file are available for free by clicking here. We encourage our visitors to download these materials and share them with your constituents, especially service providers.