About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a diagnostic term for severe neurodevelopmental impairments that result from brain damage caused by alcohol exposure before birth. People with FASD have impairments that are permanent and negatively impact on their development. FASD affects the ability to think, learn, focus attention and control behaviour and emotions. They may also be impulsive and often have low self-esteem and mental health problems. These impairments may also lead to problems at school, socially unacceptable behaviour, alcohol and other drug use, and early interactions with the justice system. FASD is a lifelong condition and there is no ‘cure’. Early diagnosis and interventions for the child with FASD and family support, strategies and services will help manage the impairments and allow the child to lead the best life possible.
In Western Australia, the prevalence of FASD is estimated to be 0.3 per 1000 births, but this is acknowledged to be an underestimate. In one high-risk area, 19% of 7-8-year-old children were found to have FASD.