Jolma LM, Koivu-Jolma M, Sarajuuri A, Torkki P, Autti-Rämö I, Sätilä H. Children with FASD—Evolving Patterns of Developmental Problems and Intervention Costs in Ages 0 through 16 in Finland. Children. 2023; 10(5):788. https://doi.org/10.3390/children10050788
This is a retrospective chart review of 55 persons (mean age 11 years, range 2–28 years) diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in one Finnish central hospital. The aim was to determine typical problems and interventions and estimate their costs during different periods of childhood between ages 0 and 16.
During the first year, 29/38 (76.3%) were treated in the neonatal intensive care unit, 29/43 (67.4%) received physiotherapy, 15/43 (34.9%) were diagnosed with congenital malformation, 8/43 (18.6%) had heart defects. Between 1 and 6 years, 39/45 (86.7%) received occupational therapy, 25/45 (55.6%) speech therapy, and 12/45 (26.7%) were diagnosed with strabismus. Between 7 and 12 years, 25/37 (67.6%) were diagnosed with ADHD and special education was recommended for 30/37 (81.1%). Learning disorders and the need for psychiatric care increased with age. Between 13 and 16 years, 12/15 (80%) were treated in the psychiatric unit, and by this age, 8/15 (53.3%) were diagnosed with intellectual disability. Before 16 years, 44/55 (80%) were placed out of home, which caused 78.5% of the estimated cumulative mean extra costs of EUR 1,077,000 in 2022 currency. Except for psychiatric costs, health care costs were highest during early years.
Charting typical patterns of problems may help in identifying children with FASD and planning follow-ups, content of assessments, and interventions.