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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2012 Apr;21(4):221-31. doi: 10.1007/s00787-012-0256-y. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Adaptive behaviour in children and adolescents with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders: a comparison with specific learning disability and typical development.

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  • 1Folkhälsan Research Center, Paasikivigatan 4, 00250 Helsinki, Finland.

Erratum in

  • Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;22(2):129. Åse, Fagerlund [corrected to Fagerlund, Åse]; Ilona, Autti-Rämö [corrected to Autti-Rämö, Ilona]; Mirjam, Kalland [corrected to Kalland, Mirjam]; Pekka, Santtila [corrected to Santtila, Pekka]; Eugene, Hoyme H [corrected to Hoyme, H Eugene]; Sarah, Mattson N [corrected to Mattson, Sarah N]; Marit, Korkman [corrected to Korkman, Marit].


Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a leading cause of intellectual disability in the western world. Children and adolescents with FASD are often exposed to a double burden in life, as their neurological sequelae are accompanied by adverse living surroundings exposing them to further environmental risk. In the present study, the adaptive abilities of a group of children and adolescents with FASD were examined using the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales (VABS) and compared to those of a group of IQ-matched children with specific learning disorder (SLD) as well as with typically developing controls (CON). The results showed significantly different adaptive abilities among the groups: Children with FASD performed worse than IQ-matched children with SLD, who in turn performed worse than typically developing children on all domains (communication, daily living skills and socialization) on the VABS. Compared to the other groups, social skills declined with age in the FASD group. These results support previous studies of adaptive behaviour deficits in children with FASD and provide further evidence of the specificity of these deficits. On a societal level, more efforts and resources should be focused on recognizing and diagnosing FASD and supporting communication skills, daily living skills and most of all social skills across diagnostic groups within FASD. Without adequate intervention, adolescents and young adults with FASD run a great risk of marginalization and social maladjustment, costly not only to society but also to the lives of the many young people with FASD.

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