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Article: Chemical Dependency Treatment for Individuals with an FASD

Chemical Dependency Treatment for Individuals with an FASD

Individuals of all abilities can experience substance use disorders. Treatment often needs to be provided by chemical health professionals who understand FASD and have the capacity to modify treatment to provide appropriate accommodations.

Steps Toward Recovery

The first step in getting help is to contact your insurance company to inquire about coverage, followed by a Rule 25 Assessment (chemical health assessment).

Consider the type of treatment you are seeking

  • Medical detoxification
    • Ask the residential facility if this is provided on-site
  • Short-Term Residential
  • Long-Term Residential (90 Days or longer)
  • Outpatient (Often called Intensive Outpatient- IOP)

Identify a treatment center that may be a good fit. Be an advocate and ask:

  • Do staff have training on Co-occurring Disorders, FASD, Brain Injury, ASD or neurodiverse populations?
  • Are staff flexible and able to provide accommodations?
  • What is an example of the daily schedule and how are clients taught their schedule?
    • For example, Are clients responsible for printing out a daily schedule or is it given to them daily by their counselor?
  • What are examples of rules and typical consequences?
  • Is the facility secure or can clients walk off the premises?
    *This can be important if the client is an adolescent with a history of running away

Possible Accommodations in a Treatment Setting

Finding a treatment provider specifically designed for individuals with an FASD can be challenging, which is why it is important to ask questions.

  • Identify a staff “point person” who can help with daily reminders and prompts
  • No privileges taken away for tardiness or forgetting a rule due to memory deficits
  • Allow use of watch with timers/alarms for appointments and group times
  • Frequent reminders of rules
  • Visual reminders posted and daily schedule in an alternative format
  • Allow sensory items (weighted blankets, fidget, etc.)
  • Allow for permission to leave group briefly if feeling anxious or overwhelmed