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Beginner’s Guide to FASD

A brief beginner’s guide to understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) with a couple of videos and a few definitions to start you off.

Morgan Fawcett Explains Life with FASD

The best way to understand a disability is to learn from an expert: Someone who lives with the disability full time.

Morgan Fawcett is an accomplished musician, photographer and speaker. He also “lives on the Spectrum” daily (i.e., having a diagnosed or suspected FASD). Watch his three minute video to learn what it’s like. Then go on to the five things you should know about FASD.

Five Things You Should Know about FASD

…according to FASD expert Deb Evensen, via the Anchorage Daily News‘ terrific series called State of Intoxication. Here is Deb’s video (five minutes) and a summary of the Five Things:

  1. No safe amount of alcohol for a fetus
  2. FASD affects people of all races and regions
  3. Most kids with prenatal alcohol exposure have average IQs but functional/behavioral impairments
  4. We know what to do: It starts with a diagnosis
  5. Every Alaskan (and everybody) is affected by FASD

I’d like to add a sixth thing that Deb mentioned: If you take your child to a specialist or facility, telling them your child has prenatal alcohol exposure, and all they want to work with is the behavior, then go to a different place.

Overview of FASD

from the National Organization for FAS:

Beginner’s Guide to The Acronyms

Here are some of the many acronyms you may come across. Definitions are coming…

  • FASD: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
  • FAS: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • PFAS: Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • ARND: Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder
  • ARBD: Alcohol-Related Birth Defects

Beginner’s Guide to Mental Health Acronyms

These acronyms are from the DSM-5, which is the “recipe book” for all mental health disorders “officially” recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. It replaces the DSM-IV. The ICD-10 is used to classify and code all medical and mental health disorders internationally (and for US health insurance companies).

  • ADHD: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • ODD: Oppositional-Defiant Disorder
  • RAD: Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • CD: Conduct Disorder
  • MDD: Major Depression Disorder
  • OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • BP: Borderline Personality Disorder
  • NOS: Not a diagnosis, but often seen as part of one, this stands for Not Otherwise Specified

Other Acronyms

  • MA-TEFRA: Medicaid for children with disabilities whose parents have too much income to qualify for various Medicaid or state insurance programs but the costs of care are still too high

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