Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

By Diane Forrest

August is National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Month, is the name given to a continuum of physical and mental health problems that arise as a result of a fetus being exposed to alcohol in utero. A diagnosis of FASD can be hard to make unless a mother discusses her drinking with her doctor or the child's doctor. Some children may be misdiagnosed as having autism, ADHD, oppositional defiant or conduct disorder, pervasive developmental delay, learning disabilities, emotional/behavior problems, reactive attachment disorder and many other conditions.

Some of the most common characteristics of alcohol-related brain damage include:
  • poor impulse control
  • poor problem solving skills,
  • difficulty linking actions to consequences,
  • poor social communication,
  • limited abstract reasoning
  • lack of trial and error learning.

People with FASD have great difficulty internalizing values, feelings and laws, and may develop inappropriate social, sexual and sociopathic behaviors.

FASD is 100% preventable, simply abstaining from alcohol while pregnant.  There is no way to determine how much alcohol ingested will cause harm to the fetus, so the safe answer is to refrain from drinking any alcohol.

So today, as we recognize Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders I want to encourage you to spread the word to those you know who are pregnant, or anticipating becoming pregnant, the dangers of alcohol and the effects on their unborn child.

For more information visit this website: http://www.nofas.org/

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