Poster Session
Issue Date: July 2015
Published Online: July 01, 2015
Updated: April 30, 2020
The Perceptions of Rehabilitation Professionals Concerning Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)
Author Affiliations
  • Creighton University
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
The Perceptions of Rehabilitation Professionals Concerning Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510145.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510145.

Date Presented 4/17/2015

This study was aimed to explore the perceptions of rehabilitation professionals concerning fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Results suggest that although participants were able to demonstrate accurate knowledge of the signs and symptoms, they did not feel well prepared to manage/coordinate intervention plans.

SIGNIFICANCE: This study explored rehabilitation professionals’ knowledge regarding fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). This study is a replication of a study performed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In this study, the researcher received permission from AAP to modify the original survey to assess the same knowledge of occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. Research questions included the following: What knowledge do rehabilitation professionals have about FASD? How do rehabilitation professionals gain knowledge of FASD?
BACKGROUND: Despite the fact that FASD is preventable, it is the leading nongenetic cause of mental retardation in the Western world. FASD is caused by prenatal alcohol exposure and is characterized by a mild-to-severe range of neurologic and cognitive deficits. Current research indicates that numerous children and adults have unrecognized FASD. There have been several studies published concerning physicians’ views and methods of intervention for FASD, but little research has been done regarding rehabilitation professionals’ perceptions of and knowledge on FASD. Due to direct patient contact, it is imperative that all rehabilitation professionals have the knowledge of FASD.
METHOD: The design of this study used a quantitative online survey with purposive, snowball sampling. The research was done in an academic setting in an occupational therapy doctoral-level program. Participants were recruited by e-mail after obtaining contact information through state and national organizations for rehabilitation professionals. The survey was titled Questionnaire for Rehabilitation Professionals Regarding FASD. Questions contained in the survey measured participant demographics, knowledge-based questions and perceptions of FASD, and type of formal training on FASD.
Results from the survey were analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics were computed to determine frequencies and means of selected survey responses including demographic information and knowledge-based questions. Correct response rates for knowledge-based questions were analyzed to determine what percentage of the surveyed population demonstrated knowledge of FASD. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were conducted to compare levels of preparedness of all professions and whether the participant had received any type of formal training in an attempt to answer the research questions. Subsequent post hoc analyses were performed to determine where significant differences lie between specific formal training groups.
RESULTS: Participants comprised 111 rehabilitation professionals. The majority of participants demonstrated accurate knowledge of the signs and symptoms of FASD. Significantly higher feelings of preparedness to identify children with FASD and to manage/coordinate intervention plans were reported among those who received formal education.
CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals that although rehabilitation professionals may be able to identify primary problems associated with FASD, they may not feel comfortable with managing/coordinating intervention plans for individuals with FASD. The results of this study suggest that rehabilitation professionals may be better prepared if they participate in formal training. Some limitations of this study included a majority of participants reporting employment in academia and a low response rate.