FASD Elephant™ #003: The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnosis

Any Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is diagnosed by assessing the four key features that were first identified in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in 1973.

FAS requires a positive and severe finding in all four key features, but other FASD conditions may vary across a continuum of severity. FAS is the only expression of FASD that has garnered consensus among experts to become an official ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnosis.

The four key features of FASD that are assessed with any diagnostic system include:

  1. Growth Deficiency (height and/or weight)
  2. FAS Facial Features (small eyes, flattened philtrum, thinned upper lip)
  3. Central Nervous System (CNS) damage (either physical damage or functional problems)
  4. Prenatal alcohol exposure level (confirmed, unknown, or no exposure)

The following criteria must be fully met for an FAS diagnosis:

  1. Growth deficiency – Prenatal or postnatal height or weight (or both) at or below the 10th percentile at any point in life,
  2. FAS facial features – All three FAS facial features present,
  3. Central nervous system damage – Clinically significant structural, neurological, or functional impairment, and
  4. Prenatal alcohol exposure – Confirmed or Unknown prenatal alcohol exposure.

Is FAS worse than other FASD conditions? No.

The fact is that other FASD conditions have more secondary disabilities.

Feedback or comments may be sent to: Michael__at__FASDElephant__dot__com.

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