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Definition of FASD

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals with FASD will experience some degree of challenges in their daily living, and need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges.


This definition of FASD was released by CanFASD (Canada FASD Research Network) in July 2019. It aims to reduce stigma, improve public understanding and encourage approaches based on an individual's strengths.

Diagnosis of FASD in Scotland (SIGN 156 guideline) requires a neurodevelopmental assessment by a multi-disciplinary team. Significant difficulties must be found in at least three of the areas shown in the diagram for a diagnosis of FASD. The NICE FASD Quality Standard for England and Wales is based on the SIGN 156 guideline. It was published in March 2022.

What is FASD and ten brain
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