Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Guidelines for Referral and Diagnosis


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can range from mild to severe. They can affect each person in different ways and can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. The term FASDs is not intended as a clinical diagnosis.

CDC worked with a group of experts and organizations to review the research and develop guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). The guidelines were developed for FAS only. CDC and its partners are working to put together diagnostic criteria for other FASDs, such as alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND). Clinical and scientific research on these conditions is going on now.

Deciding if a child has FAS takes several steps. There is no one test to diagnose FAS, and many other disorders can have similar symptoms.

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