Objective: Many children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) also have co-morbid ADHD. The goal of this study was to examine the impact of having a co-morbid ADHD diagnosis on FASD diagnostic results. We compared children with FASD to those with FASD and co-morbid ADHD across the neurobehavioral domains recommended by the Canadian Guidelines in the diagnosis of FASD.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed data from 52 children, aged 4 to 17 years, diagnosed with an FASD at a hospital FASD clinic. Thirty-three of these children had a co-morbid diagnosis of ADHD and 19 did not. Children with FASD and those with FASD and co-morbid ADHD were compared on the following neurobehavioral domains: sensory/motor, cognition, communication, academic achievement, memory, executive functioning, attention, and adaptive behavior.
Results: Children with FASD and ADHD performed significantly worse than those without ADHD on attention but better on academic achievement. No other group differences were significant.
Conclusions: Having an ADHD co-morbidity had little effect on the FASD diagnosis. The results of this project will inform the diagnostic process for FASD and have implications for standardizing diagnostic processes across clinics.