What is FASD?

Many of us have heard the term FASD… but do we know what that means?

Manitoba Health defines it in this way:


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) refers to the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol while pregnant. The effects can include lifelong physical, mental, cognitive and behavioural disabilities.
FASD is an umbrella term that can include:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
  • partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)
  • Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disorder (ARND)


FASD is often called a “hidden” or “invisible” disability because most people affected do not have noticeable physical features. While individuals may share common features, every individual is unique with their own strengths and challenges. 

Individuals with FASD are more likely to have trouble with:

  • memory
  • understanding cause and effect (consequences)
  • getting used to changes in routines
  • sensory stimulation – handling a lot of different sensations or feelings at one time
  • learning life skills
  • forming and keeping healthy relationships 

Over the next several blog posts, we hope to look at the reality of FASD… in our homes and families, our schools and yes, even the church.  This is the opportunity to hear and learn from others… from their experience, their hurts and their successes.   We invite you to enter into this conversation… to ask questions and to think through how churches and faith communities can respond to the needs of those who live under this umbrella.   God’s call is inclusion…to be the body of Christ!

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