Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) refers to antenatal impairments and damage to a child from maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. These can vary in severity and relate to physical, mental and emotional harm. The alcohol particularly disturbs the brain development of the unborn child. With high probability, affected children are impaired throughout their life, and as adults, participating in "normal" social life, despite good support, can often be challenging.
According to a long-term study (1977-2003), carried out in Berlin/Germany, the vast majority of the affected adults continued to require care and assistance to varying degress, e.g. in financial matters. 70 percent of those affected did not live independently as young adults, and only 13 percent of those affected were able to work, or earn their living in unskilled jobs.
What are the symptoms or abnormalities of those children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS, FASD)?
Due to a variety of different handicaps, but also due to the fact that only a minor proportion of about 20 to 30 percent of affected people has typical facial abnormalities, recognizing and diagnosing a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is not easy. The abnormalities can include:
- Growth abnormalities
- Facial abnormalities (e.g. narrow upper lip)
- Central nervous system abnormalities (e.g. too small head, mental retardation, persistant learning difficulties, limited attention, limited numerical skills, failure in executive functions, strong attention seeking or agitation, impulsivity, abnormal social behavior and behavioral problems, aggression, limited awareness of dangers)
The spectrum ranges from the full picture of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) to partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), to developmental neurological disorders after alcohol consumption during pregnancy (ARND).
Frequency of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)
- Every year, over 2000 newborn babies with the full image of a FAS are born in Germany, about 10.000 newborns are suffering from FASD (fetal acohol spectrum disorder). About 23 percent of the children living in foster families, according to the German Münsteraner study, have a FAS (Medical Faculty of the University of Münster).
Psychological online counseling for (adoptive or foster) parents with children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome
Since affected families (often adoptive and foster families) are exposed to heavy burdens, I offer you relief discussions as part of the psychological online consultation. Please feel free to contact me via psychological online consultation if, for example, your child experiences learning disabilities, attention problems or behavioral problems that often push you to the limit. I also offer you an open ear when confronted for the first time with the suspicion of FASD diagnosis. For more information on challengens and burdens in adoptive and foster families, go to attachment and developmental trauma.
From today's perspective FASD is not curable. Living together with an affected child can be a major challenge for you as a parent, and you can help your child, who might have only limited self-regulatory capacity, if YOU have a good self-regulation, balance and patience in daily life. Helpful for this is that I take your concerns seriously during psychological online counseling, and that I try to give you the best possible information and support. Your child does not act out of willfulness, but because of brain organic damage. Relief in everyday life and slow development happens - in addition to supporting therapies and external help - above all in the context of attachment, closeness, structure, presence. It is helpful when you, as a parent, re-think the frameweork in your own family life, and become a strong parental partner for your child. Love alone is not enough, and it requires different educational approaches or a different parenting attitude than for children who are not affected by fetal alcohol syndrom.
I would be pleased to advise you online, and together we will reflect on your personal family situation and consider which steps might be helpful in the future. I have specialized in advising parents with affected children in toddler, preschool and elementary school age. Through my easy-to-use online tool for psychological online consultation, I can guide and support you through tough times and advise on what might be best for you and your child. For further information please visit information, costs & procedure.
In Austria there are hardly any facilities for diagnostic and consultation in case of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). My online offer to you should therefore be a first step towards relief.
A diagnostic offer is planned in cooperation with the association FASDHilfe Austria (www.fasdhilfeaustria.at), from the beginning of 2019.
In the preventive sense it must be stated:
FASD is a 100% preventable disability! Pregnant women should completely abstain from alcohol during pregnancy in order not to endanger their unborn child!