Maternal alcohol consumption can irreversibly reduce human potential by causing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Individuals with these disorders may have physical abnormalities that are visible but may also have brain damage which is less visible and far more significant in terms of hampering one’s ability to succeed in education, employment, personal relations, and independent living as an adult. FASD are associated with secondary disabilities and problems including mental illness, school failure, trouble with the law, confinement and incarceration, inappropriate sexual behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 1 out of 100 infants born are affected by FASD. In Texas some 3,700 infants born each year may be affected.
Beginning in 2004, the Texas Department for the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities (TOPDD) and the UT Austin’s School of Social Work developed and implemented the Texas FASD Prevention Project to identify methods to reach women of childbearing age who are at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. During the first three years of this FASD prevention project, title Texas Choices, encompassed the following components: Screening, Brief Alcohol Education, Brief Intervention, Enhanced FASD Intervention, and the Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP). Together, these components offered a comprehensive approach to preventing FASD.
Currently, the project involves the development and implementation of a 4-session “Project Choices” intervention that will be delivered to women who are in substance abuse treatment centers throughout the state of Texas. Dr. Mary Velasquez and her training team will be training the facilitators in these centers to implement the intervention.
For more information about the Texas FASD Prevention project, visit: http://www.topdd.state.tx.us/fasdpreventionproject.html
Texas Office for Prevention of Developmental Disabilities / SAMSHA