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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Month

September is National Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness month. We'd like to take some time to educate our readers on this condition.

According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol syndrome, FASD is "an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual prenatally exposed to alcohol."

Signs and symptoms can vary from child to child, from acute to severe cases. A few of the signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • low birth weight

  • small head circumference

  • failure to thrive

  • developmental delay

  • 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 coordination/fine motor skills

  • poor socialization skills, such as difficulty 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 withdrawal, stubbornness, impulsiveness, and anxiety

FASD effects more than 40,000 children a year, according to NOFAS, which is more children than Spina Bifada, Downs Syndrome, and Muscular Dystrophy combined. The difference between these conditions and FASD is that FASD is 100% preventable if pregnant women avoid alcohol during pregnancy.

For more information on FASD, or ways to help raise awareness this month, check out NOFAS website here.

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