Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) which is a significant cause of both learning differences and behavior problems.
While we don’t know how many children have FASD, some community studies suggest that as many as 2 to 5 school children in every 100 may have FASD. Despite its prevalence, FASD is typically undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Most students with FASD have a “normal” IQ and solid oral expressive skills, yet struggle with learning challenges, executive functioning problems and deficits in the neurocognitive, self-regulatory and/or adaptive functioning realms. When FASD is unidentified, appropriate supports are not provided. Sadly, the child’s problems are typically attributed to emotional disturbance or other issues rather than the true culprit: undiagnosed FASD. The student then becomes at risk for dropout, substance abuse, homelessness and criminal involvement.
The good news is that effective strategies and supports are available that can help people with FASD succeed.