Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. These may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities. The effects are life-long.

There is great variability in the characteristics of those affected depending on such factors as the amount and timing of exposure to alcohol. Effects are often invisible which leave individuals more vulnerable and misunderstood. (cite)

The Following are cognitive and behavioral symptoms associated with FASD affected children and youth:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Poor memory
  • Poor language skills
  • Poor problem-solving skills
  • Short attention span
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactivity in childhood
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Social withdrawal
  • Stubbornness
  • Impulsiveness
  • Anxiety
  • Problems with daily living
  • Psychiatric problems
  • Criminal behavior
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Incomplete education
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Substance abuse problems

These symptoms place children and youth with FASD at greater risk of exploitation and violence. They are often less likely to recognize they are being exploited or able to assess the motivation of a predator's behavior. Additionally, FASD impacts youth's abilities to forsee consequences and youth can end up in very dangerous situations.

A number of organizations specialize in work with FASD children and youth. For more information or support, contact: