What is FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These include:
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopment Disorders (ARND)
What causes FASD?
There is a single cause of FASD – alcohol consumption by the individual’s mother during pregnancy. The mother does not have to be an alcoholic. Studies show that even light drinking has had an effect on learning and growth. Studies show that FASD affects the children of people from all races, walks of life, socioeconomic statuses, ages, and education levels.
How many people have FASD?
Current studies indicate that 1 in 100 persons is born with FASD. Only 20% of persons with FASD have the facial features associated with FAS. Most persons look like their peers but the brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure is as severe if not more severe than those with FAS. Because of this, FASD is known as an invisible disability.
Can FASD be prevented?
Yes! FASD is 100% preventable! If women did not drink alcohol during pregnancy there would be no children born with this disorder. The United States Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other federal agencies recommend no alcohol consumption during pregnancy or when trying to become pregnant..
What are the characteristics of FASD?
Many individuals with FASD are smaller than their peers; some have distinctive facial characteristics. However, brain damage can be extensive even if the facial features are minimal or not present. Individuals with FASD face difficulty in navigating the world around them. They display characteristic behaviors that repeatedly get them into trouble. These may include:
- Attention deficits, Impulsivity, Hyperactivity
- Poor sleeping patterns
- Poor social skills
- Inconsistent performance (on and off days)
- Poor judgment
- Easily influenced by peers
- Explosive response to changes
- Ability to repeat rules but not practice them
- A general cluelessness
Due to their strengths, people often don’t discover their deficits and set expectations they cannot meet. Strengths may include:
- Outgoing, Friendly, Talkative
- Bright in some areas: artistic, musical, or athletic
- Willing, Helpful