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Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2014 Apr;44(4):74-81. doi: 10.1016/j.cppeds.2013.12.012.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: an overview for pediatric and adolescent care providers.

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Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program, Levine Children׳s Hospital, Charlotte, NC; Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of the Carolinas-Charlotte, Carolinas Healthcare System, Charlotte, NC; Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC. Electronic address:


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a term used to describe the spectrum of conditions associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. These are characterized by facial dysmorphia, growth deficits and central nervous system abnormalities. FASDs are the most common preventable cause of intellectual disability in the United States and have high financial costs. Therefore, efforts at prevention are paramount. When an individual with an FASD goes undiagnosed and when appropriate interventions are not instituted, secondary disabilities such as substance abuse, school dropout, and criminal involvement are common with corresponding suffering endured by both the affected individual and the family. The diagnostic process opens up access to existing tools and resources, including the new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) FASD algorithm for the evaluation of FASDs, the new AAP FASD toolkit and evidence-based interventions specific to FASDs. Pediatric and adolescent clinicians are challenged to participate in the continuum of care from FASD prevention to identification, diagnosis, and management, including provision of supportive services for families in order for clinicians to make a difference in this 100% preventable disorder.

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