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FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

What is FASD?

FASD is a brain injury that can occur when an unborn baby is exposed to alcohol.  It’s a lifelong disorder with effects that include physical, mental, and behavioural and learning disabilities. These can vary from mild to severe.


FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) is caused when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.

The impact of alcohol on a developing fetus is influenced by the:

  • amount (how much you drink at once)
  • frequency (how often alcohol was consumed) 
  • timing (when alcohol was consumed in pregnancy)

Signs and Symptoms

Some babies are born with facial features that are characteristic of FASD. These features only occur when a fetus is affected by alcohol at a particular stage in pregnancy. Only a small number of people with FASD will have these features. The features include:

  • thin upper lip
  • little or no groove or ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • small eyes or shorter distance between one corner of the eye to the other

For all individuals with FASD, there will be different degrees of brain damage. Signs of this may include problems with:

  • Hyperactivity, attention deficit, impulsiveness
  • Inability to see consequences of actions
  • Problems with organization
  • Inability to make choices
  • Inappropriate behaviour
  • Communication problems
  • Problems with social skills and to make and keep friends
  • Difficulty making transitions
  • Problems in school such as reading and mathematics
  • Difficulty with attention span and poor judgment
  • Impulsiveness

Youth & Adult people can struggle with:

  • Mental Health issues including depression
  • Conflicts with the law
  • Issues with employment
  • Issues with addiction

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