Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and the Law
Pp. 148-160 (13)
Kathyrn A. Kelly
Legal standards and legal institutions have a great impact on the lives of individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Most individuals with FASD need and are eligible for a range of special services and programs. Frequently, however, it is difficult to obtain that assistance because the application processes are complex and because program officials are not familiar with FASD. The programs and services of particular importance include an appropriate education, Social Security benefits, and state programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Approximately 60 ' of individuals with FASD get in trouble with the law. Officials in the criminal justice system rarely recognize or understand FASD, and the system often treats defendants with this disability in a manner that is ineffective. Parents of and advocates for individuals with FASD need to better understand how to deal with the criminal justice system, and officials in that system need to be trained about FASD and about more appropriate corrective and other legal responses.