Factors predictive of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder diagnosis: Parent and teacher ratings [2018]

Diagnostic assessment in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is informed by multidisciplinary assessment incorporating objective (i.e., test measures) and subjective means, such as parent and teacher behavior ratings. The purpose of this study was to extend our previous neuropsychological test findings by identifying parent and teacher ratings of academic achievement, attention, executive functioning, and adaptive functioning as predictors of an FASD diagnosis. The charts of 315 children and adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) who underwent assessment for FASD were retrospectively reviewed. Direct logistic regressions analyzed the contribution of different ratings on the likelihood of an FASD diagnosis. The results suggest that a number of rating measures do contribute toward accurately differentiating those with FASD from within a PAE population, including teacher ratings of learning problems, inattention, and adaptive skills. The classification accuracy for each regression was clinically significant (59.1–70.8%). Children with worse ratings on these variables are approximately 1.5 to 2 times more likely to receive an FASD diagnosis. Only teacher ratings (not parent) significantly contributed to whether a diagnosis was made, suggesting that teacher observational rating scales are a critical component of an FASD assessment. Together with our previous research examining neuropsychological evaluation and FASD diagnostic assessment, this study helps to further guide decisions to streamline care in multidisciplinary assessment and intervention planning.

Nicole M. Taylor & Leah N. Enns

Child Neuropsychology: A Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 12 Jul 2018