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National Organisation for FASD Australia

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Welcome to the website of the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD) Australia.

Living with FASD FAQs

Here are some answers to questions we frequently get asked about FAS & FASD via our NOFASD Australia support service. If you have further questions or concerns relating to your specific situation please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note that the correct terminology for this condition is FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) as outlined in the official “Australian Guide to the diagnosis of FASD”.| The term FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) became outdated with the release of these medical guidelines in 2016.

We would like to thank the parents that provided feedback on these FAQs.

If you have a question that is not on this page, please contact us. NOFASD’s qualified and experienced staff will be happy to answer your questions and provide confidential, accurate advice.

More Frequently Asked Questions About FASD

Living with FASD - Frequently Asked Questions

Evidence shows that individuals who go through life WITHOUT a FASD diagnosis who does not get the supports they need often develop secondary conditions which severely impact their life expectancy.  However, WITH a diagnosis and the right supports, individuals can be supported to achieve their potential in life, including maintaining a job, going to school and having relationships, like other adults living with disabilities.

 See here for FASD Hub Australia’s page on living with FASD and the CDC’S real stories from people living with FASD.

The NOFASD website has some recorded webinars on this topic, which may offer you some helpful advice.  They are presented by Anita Gibbs, a social worker and associate professor with extensive experience & knowledge in this area. 

You may also need to contact an OT or psychologist for assistance in providing the right kind of treatment for your child. It is important that the health professionals involved, are FASD-informed, as this will influence how effective and appropriate the treatment is.  The FASD Hub website contains a services directory of informed providers around Australia.

FASD is a brain injury which means that sometimes an individual with FASD will make up stories will lie because they are confused/do not know the answer, otherwise known as confabulation. Confabulation occurs when people unintentionally fill a gap in their memory with information that is inaccurate. This could be something that occurred at a different time or could be entirely imagined/false. It is important to remember that confabulation is done with no intent to deceive or mislead

You can watch this video by Nate Sheets from Oregon Behaviour Consultation on confabulation: when lying isn’t lying.

 A helpful tip is to reframe the situation. For example:

Think of the behaviours you may see from your child on the surface:

  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Impulsivity
  • Risk-taking.

Now think of what is happening that we cannot see:

  • Slow processing time.
  • Not understanding what is being said.
  • The brain does not think about consequences.
  • The body moves before the brain can think.
  • Often desperate to seem “normal”.

 You can read more information here on parenting through the reframing lens.

If you think your child is confabulating, it’s important not to pressure them to tell the truth – this can lead to escalation. Accept that the story is filling a memory gap, and try to move on.

No. Currently, there is no evidence that proves FASD can be passed on.  A fetus MUST be exposed to prenatal alcohol exposure during pregnancy for a diagnosis of FASD.

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