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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a term that describes the range of effects that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. The effects can include physical, mental, behavioral, and learning disabilities. FASD is the leading known cause of intellectual disability. The effects of FASD can be mild to severe and last a lifetime.
Adults with an FASD might appear normal at first. But adults with an FASD might have a hard time getting along with others. They might use poor judgment. Their behavior may change from one day to the next. They may come across as unreliable. FASD also appears to be related to mental illness, substance abuse, and other problems. Together, these impairments make it hard for people with an FASD to keep up with the everyday demands at work, at home, and in relationships.
With good support, adults with FASD can function well in their community. People with more mild effects of FASD might need to learn skills to help them overcome their limitations. People with more severe effects of FASD might need day-to-day support with decision-making and to keep them safe.
Explore other publications and websites
FASD Intervention (Copyright © NOFAS) — This fact sheet provides information about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) throughout the lifespan, and provides a section on strategies for living.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders — This site links to websites with information about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It provides resources for women who are pregnant, toolkits for health care providers, and information from the U.S. Surgeon General.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Parent's Guide to Caring for a Child Diagnosed with FAS (Copyright © Wake Forest University Health System) — This booklet is aimed at helping families with a child diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). It explains what causes FAS, the symptoms of FAS, statistics, and how you can help your child with FAS reach his or her potential.
Living with With FASD: Strategies for Daily Living (Copyright © National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Sydrome) — This website offers tips and advice for people with FAS of various ages, including information on school, housing, and employment.
SAMHSA Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Center for Excellence — This website provides information and resources about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). It also provides materials you can use to raise awareness about FASD.
Connect with other organizations
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH, HHS
National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
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