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Kids Doctor Checkup

What is FASD

What is FASD?

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a brain-based, neurodevelopmental disorder that may be diagnosed in a person who, before they were born, was exposed to alcohol. FASD is a spectrum and every person with FASD is affected differently.

FASD is characterised by damage to the developing brain, leading to abnormalities in how the brain works. This can show up in several different ways, such as problems with learning, attention, memory or language, and also difficulty with abstract concepts (eg maths, time and money), poor problem-solving skills, difficulty in learning from consequences and confused social skills.

Some, but not all individuals can also have physical effects, such as smaller head circumference, damage to the structure of the brain, heart or kidney problems, vision or hearing impairment and characteristic facial features. However, not all children with FASD have these facial features.


FASD is not always obvious at birth and might not be noticed until the child doesn’t reach developmental milestones or behaviour and learning difficulties become a worry once the child starts school. FASD can also be first diagnosed in adolescence or adulthood. Due to the complex and variable way children with FASD present, there are now standard guidelines that doctors and therapists need to follow during assessment.

For example:


A thorough and accurate diagnosis usually requires different professionals working together to get a complete picture of the child’s strengths and difficulties. Very often other explanations for the child’s difficulties need to be considered such as ADHD, Autism, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Genetic conditions. A person may have one or all of these as well as FASD which makes accurate assessment and diagnosis complex and challenging.

As such, a formal FASD assessment should include an experienced neurodevelopmental  Paediatrician (to assess the facial features, neurodevelopment+medical screen, to consider alternative explanations including genetic conditions), Psychologist (to assess learning ability/executive functions, trauma, attachment and emotional wellbeing) and very often a Physiotherapist / OT (to assess motor skills), Speech & Language Therapist (to assess language and social communication skills).


I have extensive experience in assessing children with complex difficulties including those with FASD. I can definitely complete the medical assessment and indicate whether FASD is very likely or not and then advise on the need for additional specific tests or assessments to finalise any diagnosis (e.g., Psychology, SLT, Physio etc). My opinion and recommendations will be included in a detailed report which normally is available within 14 days.

If this is something you would like me to carry out, then please contact me directly via this website or at

I also work as part of a team in assessing Looked after Children and post-adoption children for FASD via the Focus Mental Health team. They provide a full and comprehensive gold-standard assessment . Their contact details are

Further reading about FASD:




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