Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders May Be More Common Than Previously Thought

1 in 20 children have an FASD

CNN, Time, and The New York Times covered a new JAMA study finding that one in 20 first graders—or possibly even more are suspected of having a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). More media outlets will likely continue to publish stories on this important new study.

“This study reinforces that prenatal alcohol exposure is a huge public health issue that cannot be dismissed,” says Sara Messelt, executive director of the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS). “This is why MOFAS has advocated for twenty years, and continues to advocate, for state policy changes to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure, ensure women’s access to treatment, and support families impacted by FASD. We need more of all these things than we currently have.”

People on the fetal alcohol spectrum often go undiagnosed—only two of 222 children identified by the study’s researchers to have an FASD had already been diagnosed for many reasons. The percentage of people with an FASD diagnosis may be higher in Minnesota than the numbers in this study indicate. “Minnesota is a national leader in terms of identifying and addressing FASD, thanks to two decades of commitment from the state and advocacy to address this disability,” says Messelt, “but even still, we have so far to go.”

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Copyright © 2018 Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome | Photos by Amy Zellmer, Custom Creations Photography.

This site is provided to families and professionals as an informative site on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It is not intended to replace professional medical, psychological, behavioral, legal, nutritional or educational counsel. Reference to any specific agency does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by MOFAS.