Use of the term FASD
2003 Teresa Kellerman

(updated May 2006)


FASD = Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

FAS = Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

pFAS = Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FAE = Fetal Alcohol Effects (now called ARND)

ARND = Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders

ARBD = Alcohol Related Birth Defects

Static Encephalopathy = Brain damage that doesn't get better or worse


These terms are explained here:


Dr. Ed Riley or San Diego State University, a leading researcher on FASD, was asked to clarify use of the term FASD.  This is my understanding of what he said:  FASD is a term that encompasses ALL disorders caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.  FASD is not a diagnosis.  FASD does not replace FAS.  It does not replace FAE or ARND.  FASD is an umbrella term that includes FAS, FAE (no longer used), pFAS, ARND, ARBD, Static Encephalopathy. 
The problem is not in the use of the terms.  The problem is in the lack of acceptance of ARND as a legitimate diagnosis of a serious neurological disorder - especially by the medical profession.  It is good to use the term FASD as a collective term, when referring to a group of individuals.  It is proper to refer to a specific child's diagnosis as FAS or ARND.  Examples:  Many children are born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.  My son John has a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  My son is diagnosed with FAS. 
Regardless of what we call it, there is a great need for education, understanding and acceptance of FASD - the entire spectrum of disorders, not just full FAS - by medical professionals so that the 85% of afflicted individuals who have the invisible types of FASD can get appropriate treatment and protection from secondary disabilities.

NOFAS statement:

Health Canada statement:



FAS Community Resource Center

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