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Living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Children and young people with FASD have many positive attributes. Parents and carers frequently comment on the positive attributes and some of the things they enjoy doing.

  • Very loving, affectionate, generous
  • Do anything for anyone, helpful
  • Very creative
  • Musical
  • Good at sport – football, basketball, gymnastics
  • Like mechanics and building
  • Love technology – using iPads


What parent and carers say

“Once you find what your child is good at, they can excel in that area. They thrive in doing something that they do well.”
“Our kids need to focus on something that they can wrap themselves up in – whether they are good at it or that it simply makes them feel better.”
“Even though he’s only nine I have learnt so much from him.”


People with FASD have challenges

Every person with FASD will have strengths and difficulties in different areas. This depends on the parts of the brain that have been most damaged by exposure to alcohol. There is no 'one size fits all' for people with FASD and not everyone will experience the same difficulties.


FASD is not only a challenging disability for people living with FASD, but also for their families. It can be demanding, tough, sometimes isolating and stressful. There are good days and bad days. Contact NOFASD Australia for information, support and advice.

What life can be like - what parents say

“I can never change the rules on him. If I vary from the routine once, that is his new rule. I have to be extremely consistent.”
“Our kids struggle with a lot of things…”
  • I don’t get him to sleep till 2 or 3 in the morning, then he wakes up at 6am
  • One addiction after another
  • Without a plan or advance warning my son loses it. It’s impacted on every part of his development – and he struggles
  • They get put in the too hard basket at school
  • They can’t shop, can’t do money, have difficulty with time and time management
  • My child gets overwhelmed at the shops – all the lights, the sounds
“I am on standby every hour of the day to respond.”
“I’m my child’s external brain and she cannot function without it.”
“They can switch from abuse and anger to loving in an instant and they don’t remember what happened.”
“There is no cause and effect – they don’t understand the consequences.”

Common difficulties and tips

Ten domains of neurodevelopment (the brain's neurological pathways that influence performance or functioning) are known to be affected by alcohol exposure in pregnancy. The following information links those 10 domains with common difficulties seen in people with FASD and tips for helping to improve skills and manage daily activities.

Challenges and hope

A look at the strengths, challenges and hopes for young Australians living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Jazpa's Story

Join Jazpa and his mum Sam to learn more about their journey living with FASD.

Page last updated 4 September 2018