Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella term that refers to the range of effects that occurs in a person who has been exposed to alcohol while in utero. When a pregnant woman consumes alcohol, it can be passed through her bloodstream to the fetus, thereby exposing the developing fetus to the effects of alcohol use and addiction. This exposure can include limited growth and development of the central nervous system and affect all physical and neurological systems, resulting in:

  • Learning disabilities, memory, and cognitive problems
  • Physical challenges (growth deficiency, poor coordination, seizures, problems with sight or hearing)
  • Mental challenges
  • Behavioural problems

There are several types of disorders that are diagnosed within the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum:

  1. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: the most severe of the disorders. Those affected may have specific, unusual facial features (small eyes, a smooth space between the nose and upper lip, thin upper lip, small head size), as well as serious central nervous problems such as learning disabilities, poor memory, communication challenges, behaviour challenges, vision or hearing and attention challenges.
  2. Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: similar physical and neurological symptoms to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome but not as severe.
  3. Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders: describes individuals who have only damage to the central nervous system (intellectual and learning disabilities, behaviour problems)

It’s important to note that with the exception of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, not all medical and psychological professionals agree on these specific disorders – there are also Alcohol Related Birth Defects, Neurobehavioural Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. But there is definitely a clear agreement that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder comes with a host of challenges that can make life challenging for those affected and for those who are parenting and loving those affected.

It’s also important to note that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder can, and does occur, in a wide variety of cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.

How can we help?

If you, yourself are dealing with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder we can support you and or complement your other therapies. If you are a parent of a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, we can also help you on this journey.

Treatment Methods

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong condition. There is no cure – but with various therapeutic techniques, behaviour interventions, medications, and parent education and support – symptoms can be better managed possibly resulting in better independence and success. Early diagnosis and intervention is key.

What will I get out of treatment with Insight?

We can help with education about this condition, offer parenting support, behaviour and other therapies. Each person may respond better to certain therapeutic approaches. Your therapist will work with you to find out the best way to support you and/or your child.