Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

When a woman drinks during pregnancy, the effect on the baby can be devastating. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are a group of conditions that results from the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

Causes of FASD

When consumed during pregnancy, alcohol passes from the mother to the baby through the umbilical cord. There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy, and any amount of alcohol can be dangerous to the baby. Alcohol consumption can cause problems even before a woman knows that she’s pregnant. FASD is preventable if a woman does not drink during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms of FASD

The term FASD refers to a range of effects that can occur when a woman drinks during pregnancy. FASD can affect people in different ways and can range from mild to severe. An individual with FASD might have:

  • Abnormal facial features
  • Small head size
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Difficulty in school
  • Memory problems
  • Intellectual disability
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Learning disabilities
  • Developmental delays

Types of FASD

There are four main types of FASD, and each has its own effects.

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)–people with FAS may have abnormal facial features, growth problems, and central nervous system issues. They also have problems with attention, communication, and learning. People with FAS often have social and academic issues.
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)–people with ARND often have developmental and learning disabilities. They frequently have behavior problems as well due to impulse control issues and poor judgment.
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)–people with ARBD have heart, kidney, or bone problems. They sometimes have hearing problems, as well.
  • Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated With Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND PAE)–Individuals with ND-PAE have problems with communication, thinking and memory, behavior issues, and difficulties with daily living.

FASD lasts a lifetime, and there is no cure for the disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment with medication and therapy can help control some of the symptoms.

If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.

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