About fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)

Learn about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

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What is FASD?

FASD is a brain injury that can occur when an unborn baby is exposed to alcohol.  It’s a lifelong disorder with effects that include physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities. These can vary from mild to severe.

FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in Canada. The number of people who have FASD is not known in Canada nor anywhere else in the world. This is because FASD is difficult to diagnose and also because it often goes undetected.

However, based on studies conducted between 1985 and 1997, an estimated 1% of Canadians (360,000 people) have FASD. More recent studies from the US and other Western European countries of first grade students estimate that between 2 to 5% have FASD.

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