A Sampling of Intervention Programs for Adolescents and Adults
Prenatal alcohol exposure has life-long effects on development. Few intervention programs have been available, though, to help adults with FASDs develop adaptive adult behavior. At the 2010 conference on interventions in FASD, “Taking the Next Step: Innovative Interventions for FASDs,” one special focus was on programs recently developed to improve adaptive function in adolescents or adults affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. Brief descriptions of these programs follow below.
For adolescents, Dr. Mary J. O’Connor discussed a program she developed at UCLA. The program is for teens aged 16-18 who were exposed to alcohol prenatally. The purpose of the program, Project Step Up, is to help teens decrease their alcohol use. The intervention includes six weekly sessions. Parents and adolescents meet in separate groups. Teen sessions, based on the Project Options program, include topics such as expectations about effects of drinking alcohol, how to resist peer pressure to drink, and developing adaptive coping skills. The parent sessions focus on developing skills in communicating with teens about alcohol, monitoring or supervising teen behavior, and modeling responsible behavior concerning alcohol use.
Two intervention programs for adults also were discussed. Dr. Leigh Tenkku, St. Louis University School of Medicine, discussed a new program to promote adaptive behavior in adults with FASDs. Several forms of intervention are offered as part of the program. These include weekly mentoring, in-home family therapy, and family support services offered in person or online. Another program, The Parent-Child Assistance Program (P-CAP), focuses on parenting skills. This program was designed by Dr. Therese Grant at the University of Washington. Its purpose is to assist mothers at high risk for drinking, including mothers with FASDs, to develop positive parenting behavior. The program uses a case-management approach. It emphasizes parenting education, development of healthy supportive social networks, and decreasing the mothers’ drinking behavior.
All programs were designed to deal with areas where individuals with FASDs have adaptive problems. The program developers have included measures of outcomes. This means that the effectiveness of the programs can be evaluated. If results are positive, it is possible that these efforts will provide the basis for extending these intervention programs to other areas. For more information on these programs, please see the slide presentations describing these programs available on this website:
Working with Adolescents and Young Adults:
Growing into Young Adulthood (Tenkku)
Working with Affected Women (Grant)
Project Step-Up (O'Connor)