What is FASD - Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a set of physical, mental and neurobehavioural disorders which are a direct result of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Foetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of intellectual disability in the Western world, and according to international studies, it is estimated that one in every 100 children is born with FASD (British Medical Association, 2007)
FASD can occur when a woman drinks alcohol in her pregnancy. Studies have found that low level alcohol use can also affect the unborn baby.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol use in pregnancy – no alcohol – no risk.
FAS is the only disorder under the FASD umbrella to display the following facial features:
FAS Facial Features
A baby’s facial features are forming between the 4-7 week of a woman’s pregnancy. If the mother drinks during this period, her child may be born with foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) which means the child has facial features and may have other foetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
A child born without the facial features and displays some of the characteristics listed below is often diagnosed as having ARND - Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder
Many children with FASD are thought to be living without a diagnosis. Some of the invisible characteristics include:
Difficulty in learning from consequences
Poor impulse control
Confused social skills
Problem solving skills
Difficulty with abstract concepts (maths, time, money)
If you know or are working with a child who displays some of these difficulties and you suspect or know of maternal drinking during pregnancy then you may know a child with FASD .
Some children who have been diagnosed with FASD were often first diagnosed with array of different disorder e.g. ADHD, ODD , Conduct or simply told that their difficulties were down to poor parenting.