The effects of FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) vary considerably and it is sometimes referred to as the ‘invisible disability’ as it often goes undetected, whether it be overlooked, ignored, attributed to another known non-genetic condition or even simply blamed on ‘poor’ parenting or post birth environments.
Characteristic features (physical, developmental and/or neurobehavioural) within the FASD spectrum are seldom apparent at birth unless accompanied by specific facial and growth factors that occur less frequently. FASD is often not noticed until the child reaches school age when behavioural and learning difficulties become more evident.
The majority of children and adults who have FASD live with significant cognitive, behavioural, health and learning difficulties, including problems with memory, attention, cause and effect reasoning, impulsivity, receptive language and adaptive functioning difficulties. These difficulties are lifelong and have a significant impact on behaviour. Positive outcomes can be achieved when parents are appropriately supported to understand their child’s behaviour as a symptom of brain damage.