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What Are Fetal Alcohol Effects?

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Sarah K. Lee

Definition:

Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) is one of a spectrum of neurological impairments that can affect a child who has been exposed to alcohol in the womb. Children with FAE are not as obviously impaired as children diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) -- they usually lack the distinctive FAS facial features and have normal IQs -- and so FAE is sometimes described as less serious. Sadly, however, children with FAE are in fact more likely to have negative outcomes such as trouble with school, trouble with the law and teen pregnancy; the fact that they look "normal" but can't behave that way due to brain damage causes them to face unrealistic expectations without appropriate support, which can have serious repercussions for these children and their families. The term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is being used more and more to stress the fact that there are a variety of ways in which alcohol can affect a developing child and no particular set of impairments is "better" or "worse."

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Also Known As: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder, Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, prenatal alcohol exposure

Alternate Spellings: Foetal Alcohol Effects

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