Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe the impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol.
FASD is a lifelong disability that will present challenges with daily living. Individuals with FASD may require support with their 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.
Based on current research it is estimated that 4% of the Canadian population may have FASD.
No two people with FASD will have the same challenges due to the wide variation of how alcohol can effect brain development.
Individuals with FASD are at an increased risk for mental health challenges, school difficulties, addictions, trouble with the law, difficulties maintaining employment, family disruption and homelessness.
Other areas of challenge may include:
- Executive functioning –difficulty with judging, planning, delaying gratification, consequences, organization, impulsivity and memory
- Communication – can be highly verbal, but lack comprehension skills both written and verbal
- Neuromotor defects – impaired balance and coordination
*Adapted from CanFASD FASD Basic Information: July 2019
NorWest Community Health Centres (NWCHC) is one of approximately 14 FASD diagnostic testing centres in Ontario. NWCHC will accept referrals from any source (self-referral; family, medical, agency etc.)
- One of the few testing services in Ontario that can diagnose throughout the lifespan of an Individual
- Primary health care (about half of those with FASD do not have a family doctor or other primary care provider)
- Specialized health care related to FASD
- Help for those living with FASD including counselling, peer group support, education programs and community training
- Parenting program for parents and caregivers of children with FASD
- Information and awareness to prevent FASD
- Resource Library
NWCHC also makes referrals to other services, community organizations and agencies who can provide additional care for clients with FASD.
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