Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term used to describe the effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on the brain and body. Individuals with FASD could encounter challenges with daily living and need support in various areas to reach their full potential. Every person with FASD is unique and has their own strengths and challenges.

Source: fasdNL

FASD is a spectrum disorder, therefore it affects people in different ways.

Individuals with FASD have various strengths and challenges. Strengths include being affectionate, determined, friendly, caring, non-judgemental, and forgiving. Challenges may include issues with memory, attention, language, behaviour, and academic achievement.

In daily life, these appear as:

  • Impulsivity
  • Unfocused and easily distracted
  • Difficultly handling money and telling time
  • Moments d’oubli
  • Trouble with organization and planning
  • Difficulties in classroom learning
  • Difficulties in classroom learning

Early recognition and diagnosis are key in providing individualized supports for individuals with FASD.

Source: CanFASD

The safest option is to not drink alcohol if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant.


Source: CanFASD

FASD is caused when the developing fetus is exposed to alcohol in the womb. People who are not exposed to alcohol will not have FASD.

Source: CanFASD

FASD is preventable if women do not drink alcohol while pregnant. However, saying that “FASD is 100% preventable” can be damaging and oversimplifies a very complex issue. There are various reasons why pregnant women may consume alcohol, including not knowing about the pregnancy, substance use challenges, trauma abuse, or not knowing the effects alcohol can have on a developing fetus.

Prevention needs to take into consideration all of the factors that influence alcohol consumption and provide supports to women and girls to promote healthy pregnancies.

Source: CanFASD

Early diagnosis and implementation of individualized interventions can help reduce the severity of adverse health and psychosocial outcomes. It may assist those living with FASD in obtaining appropriate resources made to fit their unique needs.FASD diagnosis is oftentimes completed by an interdisciplinary diagnostic team that includes physicians, psychologists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, and social workers. Private practice options may also be available via professionals trained in FASD diagnosis. Referrals can be received from physicians, teachers, social workers and/or parents/guardians.