What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition in which an unborn child is exposed to alcohol within the womb. This early and toxic exposure creates a variety of developmental delays and disabilities for the unborn fetus due to damage to one or more areas of the child’s brain and body. Brain damage and growth problems result from injury to the brain. The problems that a child experience varies depending upon which areas of the brain are damaged and the extent of the damage. Many times symptoms are not present at birth but will become apparent as the child begins to grow and experience developmental problems. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is not reversible and causes challenges that last a lifetime.

What Causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Exposure to alcohol to a fetus during development in utero causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcohol in any amount, at any stage, can cause problems for an unborn baby.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Children Who Are Adopted.

Many times children who are adopted are those who suffer from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and it is very difficult for the child’s adoptive parents to know for sure if the child was exposed to alcohol in utero. The possible symptoms and their extent can be almost impossible to predict without specifics surrounding alcohol use during pregnancy.

Brain patterns seen on qEEG Brain Mapping can help to provide insight into possible alcohol exposure and likely symptoms. Many times adoptive parents think their child has ADHD and begin to suspect that there is more to it as the child grows older. The brain patterns that are associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can create a myriad of challenges. Once identified, Neurofeedback Therapy can improve those brain patterns and quality of life.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

The most common, early, signs and symptoms are:

  • Cognitive Delay or Disability
  • Language Delay or Disability
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Developmental Growth and Health Issues
  • Social and Behavioral Issues

Physical defects associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may include:

  • Distinctive Facial Features (Small eyes, thin upper lip, short, upturned nose)
  • Joint, Limb and Finger Deformities
  • Slow Physical Growth
  • Vision and/or Hearing problems
  • Small Head Circumference
  • Heart Defects
  • Kidneys Problems

Brain and Central Nervous System Problems in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Physical

  • Poor coordination
  • Poor balance

Cognitive and Executive Function Disorders

  • Learning Disabilities
  • Lower IQ
  • Poor Memory
  • Trouble with Attention and Focus
  • Jitteriness or Hyperactivity
  • Slow Information Processing
  • Difficulty with Reasoning and Problem-Solving
  • Difficulty seeing consequences of choices
  • Poor judgment skills
  • Poor concept of time
  • Problems staying on task
  • Difficulty planning or working toward a goal

Social Pragmatic Difficulties with Other People:

  • Behavioral Issues
  • Difficulty in school
  • Trouble getting along with others
  • Poor social skills
  • Trouble adapting to change or switching from one task to another
  • Problems with behavior and impulse control
  • Rapidly changing moods

Later Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Although not present at birth, the below symptoms are associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and can show up later in childhood or into adulthood

  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anger and Aggression
  • Inappropriate Social Behavior
  • Trouble with the Law
  • Alcohol or Drug Misuse
  • Mental Health Disorders, such as Anxiety and Depression
  • Problems completing school
  • Problems with independent living and sustained employment
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors

 

Bed Wetting – Night-time Incontinence or Nocturnal Enuresis in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Bed Wetting is a symptom that is associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The sensory perception necessary to feel a full bladder and relieve it, or be able to hold it through the night. Science has long shown that more commonly children wet the bed later through the night. A new sleep study demonstrated that kids that struggle with bed wetting into older ages use much more of the extra slow (Delta) processing speed during the third and fourth stages of the sleep cycle. Extra slow processing speed is seen in the qEEG Brain Maps of children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This indicates that kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome make more extra slow speed throughout the day as well.

How Can Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Be Diagnosed?

It is very difficult to definitively diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome unless the biological mother is available, and willing to discuss alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Timing and amount of alcohol consumption can help determine the significance and possible defects if discussed with your doctor. Usually, your doctor will instruct you to watch for signs and symptoms during your child’s first weeks, months, and years of life.

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Leigh Brain and Spine is proud to have earned the distinction as a Certified Brain Health Coach Center and is a proud member of the Amen Clinics referral network.