- The effects may not be seen at birth
- All people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) will have damage to different parts of the brain which can cause structural (eg. small head) and functional impairments which can be physical, cognitive and behavioural
- Some people with FASD will have other birth defects such as heart and eye problems
- Although the use of ‘fetal’ may imply that it only relates to babies, FASD has lifelong consequences and can be diagnosed in children, young people and adults
- People with FASD will have strengths and difficulties
- Some people with FASD will have distinctive facial features, but most do not
- FASD occurs in all parts of Australian society where alcohol is consumed
- FASD is a social issue not just a medical condition
- No level of maternal alcohol consumption at any time during pregnancy can be guaranteed to be completely ‘safe’ or ‘no risk’ for the developing fetus
- Some women are at higher risk of drinking and need support from partners, friends, family, health professionals and drug and alcohol workers to stop drinking alcohol when they are pregnant
It is important to get an early diagnosis so that early interventions and support can be provided.
With the right support and early interventions, good outcomes across a range of life goals are more likely to be achieved.
A circle of collaboration between health professionals, the family, school and service providers ensures the best opportunities for people with FASD.