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Key references

References for the key publications about Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are listed here. 


Australian guide to the diagnosis of FASD (2016)

Bower C, Elliott EJ

This guide was produced to assist clinicians in the diagnosis, referral and management of Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). It provides clinicians with a diagnostic criteria for FASD, which was agreed upon following a review of existing guidelines, along with consultation with clinical experts.

Content covered by the Australian guide to the diagnosis of Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) includes:

  • assessing maternal alcohol use
  • assessing neurodevelopmental impairment
  • assessing sentinel facial features
  • growth assessment
  • formulating a diagnosis
  • discussing the diagnosis and developing a management plan
  • reporting a FASD diagnosis.

The guide can be accessed as a single document, or as individual components, which include forms, resources and information sheets:

  • Australian FASD diagnostic assessment form
  • Australian FASD diagnostic assessment summary form
  • Australian FASD management plan form
  • Australian FASD diagnostic assessment consent form
  • Assessment of sentinel facial features
  • Syndromes with constellations of features which overlap with FASD
  • Referral and screening guidelines
  • Standard drink sizes for commonly consumed drinks
  • Information on FASD diagnostic assessment for individuals and caregivers
  • Information for clinicians: issues that individuals and their caregivers may experience during the FASD diagnostic assessment process
  • Information for individuals and carers after diagnostic assessment
  • Information and resources for clinicians after diagnostic assessment.

The guideline additionally contains the Australian Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) diagnostic instrument, as well as information on how to use it.

The guideline was developed by the Telethon Kids Institute in collaboration with the University of Sydney.

Abstract adapted from the Telethon Kids Institute


Australian Government Department of Health (2014)

Responding to the impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Australia: a Commonwealth action plan.

Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health

Bonello MR, Hilder L, Sullivan EA (2014)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: strategies to address information gaps.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The aim of this report was to identify ways to facilitate the collection and reporting of information about Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in Australia. The report reviews sources of data relevant to FASD, models for developing FASD data, and strategies to address identified gaps in information.

The report recommends developing a repository of FASD related data to enable further research and prevention strategies to be initiated and to allow appropriate resources and services to be delivered to those affected, and their families.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Watkins RE, Elliott EJ, Wilkins A, Mutch RC, Fitzpatrick JP, Payne JM, O'Leary CM, Jones HM, 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: 156

Retrieved 2 October 2013 from


Education and Health Standing Committee (2012)

Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder: the invisible disability.

Perth: Parliament of Western Australia

Foundation for Alcohol Research Education (2012)

The Australian fetal alcohol spectrum disorders action plan 2013-2016.

Canberra: Foundation for Alcohol Research Education

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs (2012)

FASD: the hidden harm: Inquiry into the prevention, diagnosis and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Canberra: Parliament of Australia

National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (2012)

Addressing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Australia.

Canberra: National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee

This report was produced by the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee as a position paper on Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The report contains an overview of FASD in Australia, including the health and social impacts of alcohol use during pregnancy. The report also contains recommendations to address the condition, which include:

  • implementing broad ranging social marketing campaigns to raise awareness of FASD, and the risks to the fetus or baby if the mother consumes alcohol while pregnant and breastfeeding
  • supporting health professionals and services through the development of national policy and clinical practice guidelines, as well as workforce development and training.

NIDAC officially released this position paper on the opening day of the NIDAC conference (6 June 2012).

Abstract adapted from National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee


Western Australian Department of Health (2010)

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder model of care.

Perth, WA: Health Networks, Western Australian Department of Health

This model of care promotes the use of prevention strategies to reduce the prevalence of Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), recognising there is no cure for this avoidable condition. Recommendations are made for:

  • strategies for prevention
  • screening and early detection
  • diagnosis
  • workforce and professional development
  • monitoring and evaluation

Prevention requires a holistic approach. When addressing the issues of alcohol and women's health or pregnancy, health professionals and policy makers should also consider other health, psychosocial, cultural, regulatory and economic factors.

Western Australian Department of Health abstract

Last updated: 6 March 2018
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