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About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

What is FASD?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an invisible brain-based disability that arises due to exposure to alcohol prenatally. FASD one of the leading known causes of development disabilities in North America. 

It's important that we approach FASD through a neurobehavioural lens to allow for acceptance and understanding of the disability. Those with FASD may have challenges with memory, processing of information, living skills, motor skills, learning and social skills. Specialized supports will help them succeed in these areas. 


FASD prevention is very complicated. There are a number of reasons someone may drink alcohol during pregnancy, including: 

  • being unaware they are pregnant
  • having substance use challenges
  • experiencing abuse or trauma
  • not knowing the impact of alcohol

To prevent FASD, we must consider all factors that influence alcohol consumption and provide support for women and girls to overcome barriers to healthy pregnancies. 

Did You Know?

  • FASD is 2.5x more common than Autism.
  • FASD affects more than 4% of the Canadian population (approximately 1,500,000).
  • Prenatal Alcohol Exposure can affect 10 brain domains:
    • Memory
    • Attention
    • Language
    • Cognition
    • Affected Regulation
    • Adaptive Behaviour
    • Executive Function
    • Motor Skills
    • Neurpphysiology / Neuronanatomy
  • FASD can result in specific physical facial features. However, less than 10% of the population presents with the physical facial features.
  • Approaching FASD within the Neurobehavioural Model is important to understanding the disability.



FASD Ontario

FASD Ontario Network of Expertise

FASD Connection Peel