How Do I Know If I have FASD?
Only trained professionals can diagnose FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Most individuals with FASD are never diagnosed. This often happens with children who exhibit only the behavioral and emotional problems related to FASD, but do not display any signs of developmental or physical growth deficiencies.
Problems associated with FASD tend to intensify as children move into adulthood. These can include mental health problems, troubles with the law and the inability to live independently.
Though FASD can only be truly diagnosed by a trained professional, there are key indicators that suggest one should seek a professional diagnosis, these include:
- Raised in foster care or adopted
- History of chemical dependency/child protection
- Received many diagnoses such as ADHD, Autism, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, etc.
- Easily distracted, hyperactive, inattentive, impulsive
- Consistently displays extreme behavior (aggression, emotional instability)
- Been involved with the criminal justice system
- Has trouble remembering rules
- Makes the same mistakes repeatedly
- Displays difficulties in holding a job
Do you know if your birth mom drank during pregnancy? Some signs and symptoms to help answer this question include:
- Mother received treatment for alcohol/drug problems
- Mother was diagnosed with alcohol/drug problems
- Child was removed from home due to alcohol/drug related problems
- Mother died due to complications from alcohol/drug abuse
- Other high risk behaviors such as DUI, job or legal problems related to drinking
- Medical records indicate presence of alcohol/drugs at birth
Some possible signs and symptoms include:
- Distinctive facial features, including small eyes, a very thin upper lip, a short and upturned nose, and a smooth skin surface (or ridge) between the nose and upper lip
- Heart defects
- Deformities of joints, limbs, and fingers
- Slow physical growth before and after birth
- Vision difficulties or hearing problems
- Small head circumference
- Poor coordination
- Intellectual disabilities and delayed development
- Short attention span, hyperactivity, poor impulse control, extreme nervousness and anxiety
- Poor memory
- Difficulty in school (especially with math)
- Learning disabilities
- Speech and language delays
- Poor reasoning and judgment skills
- Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
- Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
If you suspect you, or someone you know, may have FASD, getting a diagnosis is extremely important. Identifying individuals who may be affected by an FASD is the first step in getting them connected to the support they will need to reach their full potential. It can also provide greater understanding, acceptance and more realistic expectations for the individual affected and their family.
If you're a Florida resident and would like to start the diagnosis process, contact the Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic and Intervention clinic today. The number to call is (941) 371-8820, ext. 1040. You may also send inquiries by email to Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic & Intervention Clinic.
If you are not a resident of Florida, visit the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome's (NOFAS) Resource Directory to find diagnostic services in your area. If you need further assistance, call NOFAS at 1-800-66-NOFAS.
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