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What is FASD?


FASD, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is an umbrella term for several diagnoses that are all related to prenatal exposure to alcohol (i.e. while a baby is still in the womb)


These are:
  • Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, FAS
  • Partial Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, PFAS
  • Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disorder, ARND
  • Alcohol Related Birth Defects, ARBD
  • Foetal Alcohol Effects, FAE

 FASD is a series of preventable birth defects caused entirely by a woman drinking alcohol at any time during her pregnancy, often even before she knows that she is pregnant. Beer, wine, spirits -  it's all the same to the developing baby.


The term "Spectrum" is used because each individual with FASD may have some or all of a spectrum of mental and physical challenges. In addition each individual with FASD may have these challenges to a degree or "spectrum" from mild to very severe.


These defects of both the brain and the body exist only because of prenatal exposure to alcohol.  Often the condition goes undiagnosed, or is misdiagnosed, for example as autism or ADHD, and this can lead to secondary disabilities.


The challenges a person with FASD faces may include:


The Brain                                                                    

Intellectual Disability; lowered IQ

Memory Disorders

Learning Disorders

Attention Disorders

Sensory Disorders

Speech and Language Disorders

Mood Disorders

Behavioural Disorders

Autistic Like Behaviours

Sleep Disorders


The Body

Visual and Eye Defects

Hearing and Ear Defects

Mouth, Teeth and Facial Defects

Weak Immune System


Liver Damage

Kidney Defects

Heart Defects

Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Defects

Height and Weight Deficiencies

Hormonal Disorders

Skeletal Defects

Genital Defects

Secondary Disabilities


School Expulsions


Chronic Unemployment


Unplanned Pregnancies





Depression and Suicide

Bringing Hope to those affected by FASD