Special Needs – Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Special Needs Guide

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a condition which results from alcohol exposure during the birth mother’s pregnancy. The severity of FAS varies from child to child, but the defects presenting with this syndrome are not reversible. Children with FAS often have distinct facial features, including smaller eye openings, flattened cheekbones, and an underdeveloped groove between the nose and the upper lip. They also may have the following conditions:

  • Low birth weight
  • Small head circumference
  • Failure to thrive
  • Developmental delays
  • Poor coordination and fine motor skills
  • Poor socialization skills, such as difficulty making friends
  • Poor coordination and fine motor skills
  • Learning difficulties, including poor memory, poor language comprehension, and poor problem-solving skills
  • Behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, inability to concentrate, social withdrawal, impulsiveness, defiance, and anxiety

Causes: When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, some of that alcohol passes across the placenta to the fetus, which does not process alcohol the same way as an adult. Damage can be done in the first few weeks of pregnancy when a woman might not yet know that she is pregnant. The risk increases if the mother is a heavy drinker, although there is no known amount of alcohol that is safe to drink while pregnant.

Treatment: There is no cure for FAS. The physical defects and mental deficiencies typically persist for a lifetime. However therapy and early intervention services can help reduce some of the effects of FAS and help a child make developmental progress. Medications may be prescribed to help with behavioral issues.

Love Without Boundaries[1]

Links for this Special Need:






 Stories or Blogs from Families who have Parented a Child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome:



 [1] Love Without Boundaries – http://www.adoptspecialneeds.org/