Feotal Alcohol Sprectrum Disorder Characteristics across the Lifespan

Individual fetal alcohol (FA) characteristics will vary from child to child and as adverse impacts of fetal alcohol exposure are dependent on the timing and dose of alcohol use during pregnancy. This poses a conundrum for diagnosticians because the absence of observable signs or biomarkers (as in partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS); Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND); or Neurodevelopmental Disorder – Alcohol Exposed (ND-AE) means it is often undetected. However, as a guide, damage to the brain means individuals living with FASDs will typically experience some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty storing and retrieving information
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Impulsivity, distractibility, disorganization
  • Ability to repeat instructions, but inability to put them into action
  • Difficulty with abstract thinking – mathematics, money, Time
  • Cognitive processing deficits – thinking which is slowed
  • Slower auditory pace (may only pick up pieces of the information or instruction)
  • Developmental – development is younger than chronological age
  • Inability to predict outcomes or understand consequences

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