Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnosis

A complete physical exam, evaluation of the face, and an IQ test are used to help confirm a diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome. A team of professionals, ranging from education consultants to occupational therapists, collaborates to form the diagnosis. Identifying fetal alcohol syndrome early in a child's life and implementing appropriate intervention measures may contribute to positive long-term outcomes, both in school and as an adult.

How Is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnosed?

An expert trained to assess birth defects and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders can diagnose fetal alcohol syndrome. Such experts may include a geneticist, developmental pediatrician, or neurologist. Ideally, a team of professionals diagnoses the specific disorder. The team may include:
 
  • A dysmorphologist
  • Education consultants
  • Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech and language specialists.
     

Tests Used to Diagnose Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Tests used in making a fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosis usually include:
 
  • A complete physical (height, weight, vision, hearing, cardiogram, etc.)
  • Evaluation of the face
  • An IQ test (for example, WISC or WAIS).
 
Occupational therapy, speech, neurologic, and psychiatric evaluations are also used in diagnosing fetal alcohol syndrome to check for related characteristics of the disorder, including:
 
  • Cognitive deficits, such as memory problems or developmental delay
  • Executive functioning deficits, such as problems following multistep directions
  • Motor delays or deficits, such as clumsiness or tremors
  • Attention deficits and hyperactivity
  • Poor social skills, such as interrupting others and misreading cues
  • Behavioral problems, such as aggression or not finishing tasks.
     
Pregnancy and Pain

Information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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