FASD Fact #5: FASD includes primary and secondary characteristics


Behavioral differences associated with FASD can be divided into 2 types:
1. Primary characteristics, which are associated with brain differences.
2. Secondary characteristics, which are the result of unmet needs and result from judgement and misinterpretation of behavior over time


Streissguth, A.P., Barr, H.M., Kogan, J. & Bookstein, F. L., ‘Understanding the Occurrence of Secondary Disabilities in Clients with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE),’ Final Report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), August, 1996, Seattle: University of Washington, Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit, Tech. Rep. No. 96-06, (1996).

Primary characteristics include: memory, processing, and executive functioning differences, liability in mood, increased fight or flight, difficulty with abstraction, developmental dysmaturity, sensory differences.

Secondary characteristics include: aggression, depression, anxiety, and isolation.

Tertiary problems, like homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, institutionalization, and lack of employment happen when secondary characteristics are left un-helped.

50 FASD Facts is a creation of FAFASD, Families Affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
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