Fetal Alcohol Syndrome ( Fas )

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The Institute of Medicine Report to Congress (1996) described Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) as the following: “Of all the substances of abuse, including heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus”. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) was first introduced in the United States in 1973 by Drs. Kenneth Jones and David Smith, two pediatric dysmorphologists (Jones & Smith, 1973). Even with these ancient references, it wasn’t until relatively modern times that the medical profession took notice of the connection between prenatal maternal alcohol consumption and developmental difficulties in children. Among the first well known historical references to the connection between prenatal maternal alcohol consumption and the development of children was during the gin epidemic in England during the 1700’s. During this time period the price of gin dropped dramatically and in 1714 the annual consumption was about two million gallons of gin. By 1750 gin consumption was increased to 11 million gallons (Jones & Smith, 1973). Drs. Smith and Jones published their initial findings in Lancet. A second Lancet article that same year provided the characteristics pattern of physical and mental characteristics with a name Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It is only in recent history that the disorders on the spectrum were given names much less were studied with rigorous scientific methods.

In 2004, the term “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” was agreed upon by a group of national experts to be used as an umbrella term to encompass all the disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. When signs of brain damage appear following fetal alcohol exposure in the absence of other indications of FAS, the conditio...

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...g pregnancy. Children born to heavy drinkers were more likely to exhibit problems (Kelly, et al., 2008).
Overall, there were many limitations to research. Most of the data was outdated. In addition it was difficult to properly define and diagnose FAS. Having worked with individual with FAS it is very apparent that ADHD is a common diagnosis in this population. After researching this topic, most of the research that explained long-term effects of FAS well as these behaviors have been observed in practicum experiences. FAS is a diagnosis that is still being explored in both the medical and psychology fields. Unfortunately, FAS is more common than believed and affects a child throughout their lifespan and across many facets of their life. Therefore, it is crucial that FAS is detected early on, but also that the treatment team is educated and aware of an FAS diagnosis.

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