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JFAS Int 2006;4:e1 Jan. 2006
Mental Health and Other Service Use by Young Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Rosanne MT Mills1, John D McLennan2, Michelle M Caza1

1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, 2Departments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Alberta Corresponding Author: jmclenna@ucalgary.ca

ABSTRACT

Background
Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) are at high risk for developing mental health problems. Early involvement of mental health providers may ameliorate mental health outcomes. Little is known of the extent to which young children with FASD access mental health or other services.

Objective
To determine the use of mental health providers and other services by young children with FASD and to compare these with children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Methods
Self-report, anonymous questionnaires were mailed to all caregivers of children under the age of 7 years who had their first contact with one of two large speciality facilities for children with special needs in Edmonton, Canada between October 1, 2000 and October 1, 2002. Data on children reported as having FASD (n=14) and ADHD (n=15) were extracted from all the respondents. Questionnaire items included professionals consulted, services received, referral information, and concerns about services.

Results
Children with FASD had substantial variation in the types and combinations of providers and services and tended to see fewer mental health providers than children with ADHD. This may have been partly a function of less mental health referrals from family doctors and paediatricians. The complex referral and service utilization patterns of three children are depicted.

Conclusions
Children with FASD at risk for or demonstrating mental health problems may not be receiving adequate mental health services in a timely manner. Further research is needed to better understand the type and quality of mental health and other services received by this population.

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