Transitions into Adulthood for People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: A Scoping Review of Promising Practices


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a leading known cause of developmental disabilities in Canada. Youth with FASD often experience challenges while transitioning to the expectations of adulthood. Research has demonstrated that appropriate supports in the transition to adulthood and throughout the lifespan may help mitigate these challenges. Literature that examined strategies, programs, and/or supports for youth with FASD entering adulthood was the focus of this inquiry.

To better understand the scope and recommendations of strategies, programs, and supports for youth with FASD who are transitioning to adulthood, this scoping review examined peer-reviewed and grey literature from 2005 – 2020 to answer the following questions: 1) What is the scope of existing strategies, programs, and supports for youth with FASD who are transitioning to adulthood?; 2) What recommendations are provided from existing strategies, programs, and supports assisting youth with FASD as they transition to the expectations of adulthood?

The scoping review was conducted using the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology. Findings from the review are reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR), and the PRISMA extension for searching (PRISMA-S).

Twenty-one peer-reviewed sources were included in the final review. Studies largely focused on one of three areas: 1) programs supporting youth with FASD and their families, 2) lived experiences of individuals with FASD during the transition to adulthood, or 3) preventing adverse outcomes. Recommendations from included studies highlighted the importance of programs and supports that demonstrate an understanding of FASD and emphasize relationship-building, the benefits of obtaining an FASD diagnosis, the notable gap in services for individuals who have transitioned to adulthood, and the importance of consistent advocates in the lives of youth with FASD.

Implications for educators, employers, service providers, and caregivers who support youth with FASD are discussed.

Click here to read the open-access research article.

Leave a Reply