EMOTIONAL UNDERSTANDING IN SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN WITH FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS: A PROMISING TARGET FOR INTERVENTION

Main Article Content

Christie LM Petrenko
Mary E. Pandolfino
Julie Quamma
Heather Carmichael Olson

Keywords

fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, emotional understanding, prenatal alcohol exposure, neurodevelopmental disorders, intervention, fetal alcohol syndrome

Abstract

Background
Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are at high risk for secondary conditions, including mental health difficulties. Data on both children with typical development and other clinical conditions suggest that limited emotional understanding (EU) raises risk for psychopathology, but little is known about EU in FASD.
Objective
To determine if EU is a reasonable treatment target for children with FASD.
Methods
56 children (6–13 years) with FASD completed the Kusche Affective Interview-Revised, a verbal interview measure of EU.
Results
Children showed striking delays in EU (2–5 years delay) relative to published normative data, despite mean IQ (IQ=94.56) within normal limits. Individual variability was considerable even after accounting for age and verbal IQ.
Conclusions
Despite variability in individual differences, treatments targeting EU may benefit children with FASD as components within a comprehensive, tailored intervention focused on child self-regulation and caregiver behaviour management.
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