He aha a FASD? | What is FASD?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term for a neuro-developmental disorder which results from prenatal alcohol exposure. Individuals with FASD can experience complex physical, behavioural, learning and intellectual problems that persist throughout the lifespan. FASD is diverse and individual depending on when and how much alcohol was consumed during brain development.

Research has consistently found the brain to be the organ most sensitive to the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, as the brain is developing throughout the entire pregnancy. The wide continuum of impacts includes both physical and cognitive (learning and behavioural) effects. The IQ range for all on the spectrum is from 20 – 130. Approximately 20% of those diagnosed in New Zealand have an intellectual disability, defined as an IQ below 70. This qualifies them for disability support. However, IQ is not the only measure of brain function and people suffering from FASD can have an ‘average’ IQ but are seriously affected by deficits in their adaptive and executive functioning.