Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnosis to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. FASD is a lifelong disability. Canadian researchers estimate that 4% of Canadians have FASD. As approximately 60% of pregnancies are unplanned, the risk of prenatal exposure to alcohol is significant.
Individuals with FASD may experience some degree of challenges in their daily living and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, emotional regulation and social skills to reach their full potential.
Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges. Although people with FASD experience complex challenges, they also possess resilience, strength and abilities, and offer valuable contributions to society.
It is important to know:
- Experts agree there is no safe time or safe amount of alcohol to drink when pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
- Individuals with FASD, who are not supported, experience significant adverse outcomes and secondary disabilities.
- Early identification, intervention and appropriate supports can make a positive impact and improve outcomes for those with the disorder.
- A diagnosis can help guide appropriate interventions and supports for success and provide needed information and resources for youth transitioning to adult systems and supports.
- FASD can affect all ages, genders across cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
FASD is recognized as one of the most common neurodevelopmental disabilities in the western world.
KnowFASD introduces the neurobehavioural difficulties that may appear throughout the lifespan of individuals with FASD. It is important to recognize that, being a spectrum disorder, FASD can look different for different individuals. Not all individuals with FASD will experience all of the issues presented here. However, this site summarizes the common neurobehavioural features of FASD found in current research.
CanFASD is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network, with collaborators, researchers and partners across the nation. CanFASD’s unique partnership brings together many scientific viewpoints to address complexities of FASD, with a focus on ensuring that research knowledge is translated to community and policy action.