Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome (FACS)

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What to expect

Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome (FACS)

What is fetal anti-convulsant syndrome?

Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome (FACS) is a syndrome which occurs as a result of a mother taking epilepsy medication (anti-convulsant) during pregnancy.

A child with FACS may have a number of difficulties as a result of their syndrome including:

A child with FACS may also have additional physical difficulties and conditions e.g. spina bifida and upper and lower limb problems.

Children with FACS will often have difficulties in their speech and language development and can affect many areas, including both expressive (verbal and written) and receptive language, speech, social use of language and also attention and listening. The symptoms and severity of speech and language difficulties will vary for each individual child with FACS. A child with FACS will often need speech and language therapy intervention to support their speech, language and communication needs.

What causes fetal anti-convulsant syndrome?

Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome is caused by a mother taking anti-convulsant medication (for epilepsy) during pregnancy. The medication comes in to contact with the placenta which will then affect the development of the foetus in the womb, this usually occurs in the first three months of pregnancy.

What problems caused by fetal anti-convulsant syndrome can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy can help many speech and language difficulties affected by FACS. Areas of speech and language that might be affected by FACS are:

How are speech and language difficulties in fetal anti-convulsant syndrome identified?

A diagnosis of FACS will be made by a team of medical professionals. A speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment to identify any speech and language difficulties a child with FACS may have. This assessment will also determine the severity of the childs speech and language difficulties. An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will include:

  • A discussion with you about your childs speech and language abilities and also any concerns you may have.
  • A history of your childs development.
  • A general observation of your childs speech and language skills.
  • A detailed assessment of your childs speech and language abilities.

How does speech and language therapy help children with fetal anti-convulsant syndrome?

Due to the variety of speech and language difficulties experienced by children with FACS which will differ for each child, speech and language therapy will be tailored to each childs specific speech and language needs.

General aims will be to improve and maximise the childs functional communication. This will include working on the childs receptive and expressive communication needs.

The speech and language difficulties experienced by a child with FACS may impact on the childs ability to access their learning in school. The speech and language therapist will help to the support the child in all environments including the home and school.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for a child with fetal anti-convulsant syndrome involve?

An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will help to identify any speech and language difficulties your child may have and also the severity of their difficulties. This assessment will help to decide on what the best treatment plan for your child will be. Speech and language therapy may involve:

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for a child with fetal anti-convulsant syndrome?

To arrange an initial assessment for your child with one of our speech and language therapists please call 0330 0885 643.

Summary

Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome is a syndrome caused by a mother taking anti-convulsant medication during pregnancy. Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome results in a variety of difficulties for the child including speech and language difficulties. Speech and language therapy will help to improve these speech and language difficulties. If you feel you and your child may benefit from speech and language therapy then please contact us by emailing office@slt.co.uk or calling 0330 0885 643.


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