The term FASDs is not a clinical diagnosis. There is no medical test to diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Learn more about the criteria for diagnosis.
Brain dysfunction is the primary disability of FASD, and it is invisible. It manifest itself in behaviors, such as the following, which are common among children living with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure.
- Very literal thinking - may not understand abstract concepts (money, time), or language (“Act your age.”)
- Slower brain pace – may take longer to respond because the brain needs more time to process information
- Difficulty learning from experience – may have a hard time moving information from one situation to another. Every situation may be brand new because the brain might not have the benefit of learning from previous experiences.
- Disruption in cause/effect thinking – inability to look ahead and predict what might happen in a new situation. May be very impulsive
- Rigid thinking – once something is learned, might have difficulty to relearn and change it
- Difficulty reading body language – non-verbal communication, such as tone of voice, facial expressions and body language might not be understood, which can lead to misunderstandings
- Memory problems – short-term memory may be inconsistent; for example, a child may be able to repeat something, then forget it shortly after
- Sensory integration – senses may be experienced differently than most people. A slight touch may feel like a slap or normal lights may look like strobe lights. This makes it more difficult to get through the day
- Poor judgement – may have difficulty responding to new or unexpected situations or using common senses in everyday life