About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe a number of different disorders associated with fetal alcohol exposure, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Other terms that might be used to describe FASD: fetal alcohol effects; neurodevelopmental disorder associated with alcohol exposure; alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder(s); static encephalophathy, alcohol exposed. The common thread is:

  • Known alcohol exposure in the womb
  • Complex learning and behavior problems

For a diagnosis of FAS, certain physical effects also have to be present:

  • Growth impairment
  • A missing or faint philtrum (the vertical groove in the middle of the upper lip)
  • A thin upper lip
  • Small eye openings

Children can display the characteristic behavioral problems without the physical effects, and also without known alcohol exposure. Children with the learning and behavioral difficulties typical of FASD can benefit from FMF strategies even if prenatal alcohol exposure cannot be confirmed.

Typical FASD problems can  be observed even in infancy. For example:

  • Irritability
  • Problems self-soothing
  • Problems moving from one state to another
    • difficulty waking
    • difficulty going back to sleep
    • difficulty calming

Older children might display:

  • Learning problems
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty understanding and following directions
  • A hard time controlling their emotions and impulses
  • Difficulty socializing
  • Negative affectivity

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