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FASD

What is FASD?

Please note that some of the information may be triggering for some individuals.  If you need immediate assistance please call your local crisis services. 


Alcohol is a known teratogen, an agent that can disturb the development of an embryo or fetus.  No woman drinks to harm their child.  Prenatal Alcohol Exposure can occur for various reasons including, but not limited to: not knowing you are pregnant, not knowing the risks, addiction, and inadequate prenatal care.  


Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was first coined in 1973 to describe individuals who had been prenatally exposed to amounts of alcohol and demonstrated a particular pattern of facial characteristics, growth delay and brain impairment.  


Research has since shown that only a minority of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol will demonstrate any facial anomalies or delayed growth. The diagnosis of FAS, using these criteria, was missing many individuals who required supports.  


In December 2015, the new Canadian guidelines for diagnosing FASD across the lifespan were published, changing the terminology from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrom (pFAS), and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental (ARND).


Now, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol.  


Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strength and challenge.


Previous estimates claimed that one in every hundred Canadians have FASD.  Current studies suggest that number is closer to four to five per cent, around 1.4 million people.  


Despite 40 years of public health campaigns warning against the risks associated with alcohol use in pregnancy, prevalence does not appear to be decreasing.  A common misconception is that FASD is associated with social, ethnic, or cultural background, but the majority of women in Canada drink alcohol. FASD can affect all cultures and ethnicities that consume alcohol. 


It is our goal to help individuals with FASD and other neurodiversitiesunderstand the areas where they shine and navigate the areas where supports can help.  It is our belief that FASD is a part of an individuals life, it is not who they are. 


FASD Counselling and Consulting offers BC's only FASD tailored play therapy and expressive arts services. 

Quick Fact

It is estimated that 4-5% of all Canadians are affected by FASD.  The nervous system begins developing from implantation.  If you know you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, please avoid alcohol.