Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of disorders that happen when a person’s mother drank alcohol while pregnant. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord.  

FASDs can include physical, behavioral, and learning problems. People who suffer from FASDs usually have a mix of these problems.  

Physical problems can include a low birth weight and slow growth. Development of vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys, and damage to parts of the brain may also occur.  

Behavioral and learning problems include learning disabilities, hyperactivity, difficulty with attention, poor communication, reasoning, and judgment skills.  

Most people with FASDs have a variety of complications which tends to lead to lifelong issues with school, professional, and social skills. People with FASDs often have trouble living independently, mental health and substance use issues. 


To prevent a child from having an FASD, a woman should not drink alcohol while she is pregnant. A woman could get pregnant and not know for up to 4 to 6 weeks. So if there’s a chance a woman could be pregnant, she should not drink alcohol.

If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop drinking. Because brain growth takes place throughout pregnancy, the sooner a woman stops drinking the better it will be for her and her baby.  

Resources are available here.


Parents and caregivers of children with FASDs can learn more about the treatment and support by attending our upcoming conference:  

August 10, 2022 | No Cost to Register | 9am-3pm | Lunch Buffet Provided | DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bay City – Riverfront


Topic: Applying a Brain First Approach to Children with FASD and Other Neurobehavioral Conditions

Speaker: Eileen Devine, LCSW – Neurobehavioral Support Coach for Parents – Founder of The Resilience Room Membership Community

Book reading by special guest and author, 5th-grade student, Kris Dickson

Funded by: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

*The first 100 participants to register will receive a copy of Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (JKP Essentials) by Maria Catterick and Liam Curran

For more information, please call 989.752.7226 or email Vera Harrison: vharrison@cancouncil.org

**Certificates available upon completion of this workshop**

This initiative is funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.