What is 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 effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. The National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), estimates as many as 1:100 babies are born with an FASD each year. The cost to the nation for FAS alone is about $6 billion a year.
Other Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Include:
FAS, ARND, ARBD, PFAS
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
A medical diagnosis usually made by a clinical geneticist, or developmentalpediatrician. According to the diagnostic guidelines set forth by The Centers for Disease Control; receiving an FAS diagnosis means the following criteria have been met:
1. Growth Retardation:
Confirmed prenatal or postnatal height or weight, or both, at or below the 10th percentile, documented at any one point in time (adjusted for age, sex, gestational age, and race or ethnicity).
2. Specific Facial Anomalies:
The diagnostic guide states that all three features must be present. These include the following: Short palpebral fissures (small eye opening), indistinct philtrum (area between the nose and upper lip) and a thin upper vermilion (upper lip).
3. Central Nervous System Impairments (CNS):
Three components of CNS abnormalities are identified: structural, neurologic, and functional deficits.
Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
Children with ARND have mental impairments that affect their learning and behavior. There is confirmed prenatal maternal alcohol exposure. Children with ARND have learning and/or behavioral problems that are associated with prenatal alcohol exposure but do not have the typical facial differences or growth problems. These children may not appear to have a disability, but they do have brain damage.
Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
Children with ARBD have confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure and alcohol-related birth defects. There may be one or more congenital birth defects, including but not limited to cleft palate, eye problems, hearing problems, heart defects, kidney and genital changes.
Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (PFAS)
Children with PFAS have a confirmed prenatal exposure to alcohol. Their faces look different and they have one of the following: growth problems, unexplained learning or behavioral problems.
Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE): Term previously used to describe individuals who meet some, but not all FAS diagnostic criteria.
NOFAS Fact Sheet FASD identification