The Florida Center for Early Childhood Partners with Orlando Health to Expand FASD Clinic

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The Florida Center for Early Childhood Partners with Orlando Health to Expand FASD Clinic

The Florida Center for Early Childhood has partnered with Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to expand its Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Diagnostic Clinic to Central Florida.

“We are thrilled to partner with The Florida Center to bring this specialized clinic to the Central Florida area,” said Dr. Lindsay Shaw, division chief of pediatric neuropsychology at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “We have put together a robust and dedicated team of specialists to help evaluate, diagnose and offer treatment options for families and children affected by FASD.”

From its Sarasota offices, The Florida Center has operated the only FASD Diagnostic Clinic in Florida since 2009. The purpose of the clinic is to evaluate individuals who were exposed to alcohol in the womb, then offer intervention services and support. The FASD evaluation team includes a neuropsychologist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, and parent advocate.

"We are beyond excited to expand this service," said Dr. Kristie Skoglund, CEO of The Florida Center for Early Childhood. "Early intervention for children with FASD is the key to reducing negative outcomes and we are delighted to be working with experts at Orlando Health to provide answers to struggling families."

The need for additional services has increased over the last few years. Today, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that up to one in 20 children may have FASD, although many are never diagnosed.

Orlando Health Arnold Palmer will aid The Florida Center by providing specialists trained in FASD to serve on an additional diagnostic team that meets regularly in Orlando.

Traveling to and from the Sarasota clinic was a hardship for many families. In 2020, The Florida Center expanded services to include virtual sessions but continued to have a waitlist for evaluations. The service is free for Florida residents.

"As a parent of two children on the FASD spectrum, I cannot describe how thankful we are for this new partnership between The Florida Center and Orlando Health," said FASD advocate Lindsey Munns. "As we have worked closely with both organizations, we know that they deeply care for this population and want to increase awareness and understanding of FASD."

Without a diagnosis, individuals with FASD can go their entire lives never understanding why they struggle. Problems associated with FASD can intensify during adolescence and, if not treated properly, can result in:

* Issues in school and/or school dropout

* Trouble with the law

* Mental health problems

* Inability to live independently

After families complete the evaluation process, The Florida Center connects them to resources that can prevent these negative outcomes and offer specialized support to parents.

About The Florida Center for Early Childhood

For nearly 40 years, The Florida Center has been the leading provider of therapeutic services, early education, and healthy development for young children in southwest Florida, offering a seamless delivery of services for the whole child and their family. Today, the agency is nationally recognized for its early childhood expertise in a variety of specialties. The Florida Center provides developmental therapies, mental health counseling, Starfish Academy preschool, the Healthy Families home-visiting program, and the state’s only Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Clinic. For more information, visit www.TheFloridaCenter.org or call 941-371-8820.

About Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children is a 156-bed facility dedicated exclusively to the needs of children. Orlando Health Arnold Palmer provides expertise in pediatric specialties such as cardiac care, craniomaxillofacial surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, orthopedics, pulmonology and sports medicine. The Bert Martin’s Champions for Children Emergency Department & Trauma Center at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer is part of the only Level One Trauma Center in the area, and is the first facility in Central Florida to provide emergency care exclusively for pediatric patients. Visit www.arnoldpalmerhospital.com to learn more about all of our specialties.

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