Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Interdisciplinary Perspectives. (Eds) Barry Carpenter, Carolyn Blackburn and Jo Egerton. Published by Routledge: London, 2014.

Reviewed by Liam Curran Independent Social Worker/Certified FASD Educator
It is without question that this book is presented at a most interesting time of British social policy, as the country considers the sensitive and ethical challenge of criminalising mothers who consume alcohol heavily during pregnancy.  This book quickly informs us that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are cited to be one of the leading causes of childhood disability in the 21st century. We also learn in the chapters that follow, that children and young people with FASD are currently the largest group of children within our fostering and adoptive services. The authors demonstrate eloquently how adoptive parents must become their own experts in dealing with FASD, as there is a “paucity of professional knowledge” (pg65)
This lack of professional knowledge is stated repeatedly by many contributors throughout this book, with both the fostering and adoptive parents struggling in the caregiver role due to untrained and unskilled professionals. We read what happens when society fails to see these children, resulting in a high percentage of adolescents suffering school failure, addiction, homelessness and criminal justice issues. It is great to see Jo Egerton’s advice on transitions to adulthood – reminding us that FASD is a disability across the lifespan. The focus on the adult side of living with FASD is still in its infancy in many research communities.
This book provides a wealth of contemporary insights into a rapidly ascending public health issue of main stream public importance in the 21st century. The human and social cost burden of FASD permeates all aspects of our society today. The book is unequivocal in its call to public health agencies to initiate robust programmes of prevention throughout all facets of society and community.
This book is highly recommended to social policy personnel, university educators or allied health professionals and frontline professionals in children’s services. This book can and will greatly enhance society’s knowledge and understanding of this devastating but preventable disability. In doing so, it is hoped that we may see these children and adults who are living with FASD within our social services provision and respond appropriately.

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