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FASD Awareness Day 2020

September the 9th is FASD Awareness Day!


What is FASD?

FASD stands for ‘Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders’ and it is a term which covers a range of physical and mental effects on individuals whose mother used alcohol during the pregnancy.

Alcohol is an extremely potent ‘teratogen’ which means that it is a drug which can cause physical abnormalities and learning and behavioural challenges in a developing foetus.

There is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. Any amount of alcohol at any point during a pregnancy has the potential to lead to FASD.

FASD covers a spectrum of disorders. FASD disorders are lifelong disabilities. Individuals suffering from FASD conditions can experience their own unique challenges and difficulties in their daily lives and need help with a variety of things such as their learning, attention, ability to regulate emotions, social skills, physical and mental health.

How prevalent is FASD?

FASD is the most common non genetic cause of learning disabilities in the United Kingdom and it is estimated that 1% to 5% of the population is affected by FASD, meaning that up to 35,000 babies might be born every year suffering from FASD related conditions. Unfortunately the condition sometimes goes undiagnosed or might be misdiagnosed as Autism or ADHD instead of the symptoms being recognised as presentations of FASD.

How does FASD affect children?

FASD can lead to issues which potentially have lifelong impacts upon those who suffer from these disorders.

Due to the complexity of the developmental issues which individuals with FASD face an individual with a FASD condition might display a variety of the following characteristics:

  • Issues with attention, concentration or hyperactivity.
  • Academic issues, including specific deficits in mathematics & memory skills.
  • Language deficits e.g. poor receptive language.
  • Short term or working memory issues.
  • Adaptive functioning issues which grow more significant with age.
  • Challenges with emotional regulation.
  • Social or relationship challenges including difficulty making or sustaining friendships.
  • Sensory impairments such as vision or hearing. Sensory sensitivities.
  • Tendency to be oppositional or defensive when requests are made.
  • Inconsistent performance - can do something one day but cannot the next.
  • Lack of abstract reasoning, cause & effect logic, fails to generalise.
  • Poor sense of self and issues with theory of mind.

Where can I learn more about FASD?

 FASD Hub Scotland:

The FASD Network:

FASD Scotland:

The National Organisation for FASD:

Red Shoes Rock: 

& on Social media you can follow @FasdhubScotland @NOFASUK @FASD_Trust @FASDScotland on Twitter or search for the Hashtags #FASDMonth #FASD #FASDay #FASDworkingTogether #IcanFASD #NoAlcoholNoRisk #RedshoesRock #to see what is currently trending.

Orkney Alcohol and Drugs Partnership