ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mental Birth Defects: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Updated on May 22, 2015

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Do you know anyone with FASD?

See results

FASD: An Overview

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a range of conditions caused by the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Like Down syndrome, FASD is a developmental, lifetime condition with no cure that affects one’s behavior, learning capabilities, attention span and memory as well as introducing a variety of physical issues. These can range from abnormal facial features, problems with the central nervous system, and low height and weight. Someone suffering with FASD typically has a combination of these problems (Facts about FASDs). Considering that it is so easily preventable, FASD occurs at a startlingly high rate in North America, at 9.1 cases per 1,000 births. It’s the most common form of preventable brain injury (Mclachlan). Interestingly enough, according to Evaluating the Psycholegal Abilities of Young Offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, “…[F]indings suggest individuals with FASD (largely ARND) are overrepresented in criminal justice settings, with estimates ranging from 10% to 23%” (Mclachlan). FASD appears to be correlated with criminal activity.

The Spectrum of Disorders

FASD is a far-reaching term to describe the variety of physical and mental conditions caused by prenatal alcohol consumption. It encompasses several different subsets, including Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS), and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND). FAS is the most extensive and severe level of FASD, affecting the patient’s physical features and cognitive functions. pFAS is a less severe form of FAS’s impairments, while ARND retains FAS’s mental retardation without the physical indicators (Mclachlan).

Prevent FASD - Don't Drink During Pregnancy

Do you know anyone who drinks or has drank during pregnancy?

See results

Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndromes

Symptoms of FASD typically include abnormal facial features, a small head size, low weight and height, poor coordination, hyperactive behavior, poor attention span, poor memory, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, low IQ or intellectual disabilities, poor reasoning and judgment skills, vision or hearing problems, and problems with the heart, kidneys or bones (Facts about FASDs). This list is far from extensive; it only includes visible symptoms. Far more happens on a cognitive level.

FASD results in a variety of learning, social and behavioral difficulties. Similar to Down syndrome, those with FASD can suffer developmental delays, including issues with speech, causing stuttering and stammering. Processing and thinking skills especially suffer; this can make abstract concepts such as math extremely challenging. Applying previously learned knowledge is also difficult, due to the abnormal learning curve that can often frustrate teachers. One day a student with FASD may be making progress, the next he might appear to forget how to apply what he just learned (A Closer Look at Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). A student with FASD might memorize a formula or process for solving a problem well enough, but the next day he or she may struggle to incorporate the formula or process.

Fetal Alcohol Syndromes are devastating
Fetal Alcohol Syndromes are devastating | Source

Living With a Fetal Alcohol Disorder

These mental challenges mean that FASD patients must be placed in special education programs as soon as possible; even young infants can be helped to foster better motor and intellectual development. Once they hit preschool, individualized education programs can be beneficial to help with the variety of developmental and language delays. Placement in special education programs continues into elementary school and beyond; it incorporates small classroom sizes and an increased level of individual attention. Unfortunately, while remedial education may prevent further deterioration, it has not been shown to further increase the mental capabilities of children with FASD. Patients tend to reach their academic peak at a high school level. Sadly, many with FASD will graduate from high school incapable of basic life skills like managing money, driving a car and holding a job (A Closer Look at Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

Clearly, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders have vast repercussions on victims’ minds, affecting their capacity to lead normal, independent lives. They often require parental or caregiver supervision throughout their entire lives. Because it is so easily preventable, it is particularly painful to see someone with FASD. Hopefully, with further research and time, progress can be made towards treating this disease.

Works Cited

"A Closer Look at Fetal Alcohol Syndrome." A Closer Look at Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Texas

Department of Family and Protective Services. Web. 13 Dec. 2014. <>.

Mclachlan, Kaitlyn, Ronald Roesch, Jodi L. Viljoen, and Kevin S. Douglas. "Evaluating the

Psycholegal Abilities of Young Offenders With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder." Law and Human Behavior (2012). PsycARTICLES. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.

"Facts about FASDs." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 3 Sept. 2014. Web. 13 Dec.


© 2015 Nu Vew


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Gordon Wright profile image

      Gordon Wright 

      6 years ago

      Sadly, the sort of women who drink while pregnant are not the sort of women to heed your advice when you tell them not to drink while pregnant. FAS is easily preventable in theory only.

      I've known FASD cases and I've known their mothers. Education won't fix anything.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)