International Adoption :: Interventions
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If you are still in the adoption process and you want to determine whether a child might have FASD, the first thing to do is to get photos or video footage of the child, preferably at different ages. Obtain any medical history, if available. Take this information to a health care professional or team that is skilled in distinguishing FASD from other disorders. Some physicians specialize in medical issues specific to international adoption.

If medical history is scant or missing, then physical features from a photo are your only diagnostic tool. This poses some limitations:

  • Facial features are normal in children unless they have FAS. The other forms of FASD do not present with facial abnormalities.
  • Normal facial features of different ethnicities may mask FASD.
  • Newborns and very young infants have natural swelling around the eyes, which may mask abnormal facial features.
  • Facial anomalies, if present at all, become less distinct as children enter adolescence.
  • Undernourished children are small and thin for their age, regardless of whether they are otherwise healthy or not. So the “10th percentile or lower” rule used in diagnosing American children for growth retardation often does not apply.

If you already have adopted a child and you are concerned that he or she may have FASD, all the information in the Parents section and Diagnosis page of this web site will be helpful to you.

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