Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

by Bjon Byam

Definition

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a congenital syndrome caused by excessive consumption of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy, characterized by retardation of mental development and of physical growth, particularly of the skull and face of the infant.

Signs and Symptoms

- low birth weight

- small head circumference

- organ dysfunction

- facial abnormalities, including smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and indistinct philtrum (an underdeveloped groove between the nose and the upper lip)

epilepsy

- poor fine motor skills

- poor socialization skills, such as problems building and maintaining friendships and relating to groups

- lack of imagination or curiosity

- learning difficulties, including poor memory, inability to understand concepts such as time and money, poor language comprehension, poor problem-solving skills

- behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, social stubbornness, impulsiveness, and anxiety

Treatments include:

  • A team that includes a special education teacher, a speech therapist, physical therapist, and a psychologist
  • Early intervention to help with walking, talking and social skills
  • Special services in school to help with learning and behavior issues
  • Counseling to benefit parents and the family in dealing with a child's behavior problems
  • Medications to help with symptoms
  • Medical care for health problems
  • Treatment of the mother's alcoholism to enable better parenting