Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the broad terms for a spectrum of disorders that can occur in a child whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Children, adolescents, or adults with FASD may experience effects including physical, behavioral, mental, and learning disabilities.
What are the signs or symptoms of FASD?
Because FASD refers to a group of disorders, it must be kept in mind that the following list of conditions will affect different people in different ways and to varying degrees.
- Shorter-than-average height
- Hyperactive behavior
- Difficulty with attention
- Poor memory
- Speech and Language delays
- Poor reasoning and judgment skills
- Low body weight
- Vision or hearing problems
- Problems with heart, kidneys, or bones
- Poor coordination
- Abnormal facial features
What are the Types of FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
FAS is the most significant of the spectrum, and according to the CDC it can result in “abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system problems.” Children and adolescents with FAS will often have difficulty in school and struggle to get along with others. These troubles often stem from problems with memory, attention span, learning, communication, vision or hearing.
Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
Children who struggle with ARND will most-likely have intellectual disabilities together with behavior and learning challenges. Again, they tend to struggle in school, particularly in the areas of math, memory, attention, poor impulse control, and judgment.
Alcohol-Related Bith Defects (ARBD)
ARBD has more physical effects including issues with the heart, kidneys, bones, or with hearing. A mix of these is common. (Source: CDC)
Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE)
This condition was first recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013 and occurs when the mother consumed more than “minimal levels” of alcohol prior during the pregnancy. According to the CDC, ND-PAE causes the following in children:
- Difficulties with thinking and memory
- Behavioral issues like severe tantrums and significant mood issues
- “Difficulty shifting attention from one task to another”
- Issues with managing day-to-day life including bathing, playing with other children, or dressing themselves
Many of the signs and symptoms of FASD are similar to those of mental illnesses so FASD can frequently go un-diagnosed. It is common for FASD to co-occur with the following disorders:
- Psychotic disorders
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Major depressive disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Reactive attachment disorder
- Personality or conduct disorders
- and even traumatic brain injuries
Sadly there is no cure for FASDs, but treatments can help. We do have the staff and facilities to help teens with FASD. If you are interested in more information, check out our Residential Services page or give us a call at (907) 523-6512. We are here to help.