Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, The Invisible Disability

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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in people who were exposed to alcohol in-utero. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. Each year, as many as 40,000 babies are born with FASD. Only 1% of adults with FASD may exhibit the physical features of this “invisible” disability; however, their behavioral and cognitive issues can present specific challenges. In particular, executive functioning (reasoning and problem solving) is affected. Memory problems, anticipation of consequences and impulsivity are also prevalent. In addition, sensory systems may be compromised resulting in the inability to modulate and regulate reactions to the environment. Much research continues to find out more about the effects of alcohol on central nervous system development.

Robin Van Eerden, MS, NCC, LPC, NADD-CC, Consultant Integrative Counseling Services, Scranton, PA.

Produced in 2014