Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
What is it? And what does it mean?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are a group of disorders that have a wide range of effects. FASDs are caused by a woman consuming alcohol during her pregnancy. Since alcohol can cross the placenta, it can have detrimental effects on the fetus. Alcohol can cause developmental problems for the baby especially when it comes to brain growth.
According to the CDC, the following are some of the signs and symptoms that can occur. These conditions can affect each person in different ways, and can range from mild to severe.
- Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
- Small head size
- Shorter-than-average height
- Low body weight
- Poor coordination
- Hyperactive behavior
- Difficulty with attention
- Poor memory
- Difficulty in school
- Learning disabilities
- Speech and language delays
- Intellectual disability or low IQ
- Poor reasoning and judgment skills
- Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
- Vision or hearing problems
- Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
The following are different terms that are used to describe FASDs according to the type of symptoms exhibited:
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS): FAS represents the most involved end of the FASD spectrum. Fetal death is the most extreme outcome from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. People with FAS might have abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system (CNS) problems. People with FAS can have problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, or hearing. They might have a mix of these problems. People with FAS often have a hard time in school and trouble getting along with others.
- Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND): People with ARND might have intellectual disabilities and problems with behavior and learning. They might do poorly in school and have difficulties with math, memory, attention, judgment, and poor impulse control.
- Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD): People with ARBD might have problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones or with hearing. They might have a mix of these.
Facts about FASDs
Did you know?
- The term FASDs is in fact NOT used as a clinical diagnosis.
- There is no medical test for diagnosing FAS.
- It is very hard to diagnosis FAS especially because other disorder such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Williams syndrome, and various other disorders which have some symptoms in common with FAS.
- FASDs last a lifetime. There is currently no cure for FASDs.
- There are many types of treatment options to help with some symptoms:
- Because of the Central Nervous System (CNS) damage, symptoms, secondary disabilities, and wide range of needs, there is no one treatment type that works for everyone.
- A good treatment plan will include close monitoring, follow-ups, and changes as needed along the way.
- Protective Factors can help reduce the effects of FASDs and help individuals with these conditions reach their full potential.
- Loving, nurturing, and stable home environment
- Absence of violence
- Involvement in special education
How can we help?
At Quantum, we integrate various alternative therapies to best serve the individual. Since FASDs have a wide range of symptoms, we treat each client differently depending on their brain assessment.
We first look at the individuals quantitative electroencephalograph (qEEG/brain map) in order to assess what various treatments they may require. The minimum for individuals with FASD is neurofeedback training. With neurofeedback training some cognitive functioning abilities may generate. Neurofeedback brings awareness to the brain through visual and auditory feedback which in turn translates into the “re-wiring” of the brain. Some other improvements that may occur are better attention span, healthier behavior patterns, better sleep patterns, as well as better memory.