What Is FASD?

UmbrellaSimply put…
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is an umbrella term that describes the range of effects that may occur to an individual whose mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. Some babies are born with severe physical differences and intellectual disabilities; others are only slightly affected.

FASD can be very complex and it can also be very basic. Like anything else you’ve tried to learn, there’s a long answer and there’s a short answer and then there will be an answer that really makes sense for your. As one very wise man once said, “believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

So, go ahead, get cozy, grab yourself a [insert the name of your favourite hot drink here] and get your learn on! Here are some of the best online resources and one-liners that will help you make sense of FASD.

Watch this:
FASD Day 2012
Government of Alberta FASD Learning Series

Read these:

Chew on this:
When planning for someone who is living with an FASD, remember it’s STAGE not AGE. If someone is fourteen…they may only be at a seven year old stage. So, when we say “grow up and act your age”, they already are.

When communicating with someone with an FASD, the less you talk, the more they will understand. Keep explanations sunny and short, not long winded and overwhelming.


Streissguth A. Fetal alcohol syndrome: a guide for families and communities. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co; 1997.