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Adult and child with FASD smiling behind inflatable picture frame

Frequently Asked Questions

I am concerned a loved one might have FASD, how is FASD diagnosed?

For any FASD diagnosis you may be asked for the following:

  • any proof you might have about an alcohol-exposed pregnancy,
  • any proof from school or other professionals about developmental challenges.
  • baby pictures that show the face (not smiling) (Please note: <10% of people with FASD have facial features but if there is no proof of an alcohol exposed pregnancy this is the only instance in which an FASD diagnosis might be possible).


For a child: Ask the GP to refer you to a paediatrician. The paediatrician may conduct an array CHG blood test to rule out any genetic issues. (Note: a referral to a geneticist is not needed at this point and can delay things. If something shows positive, the referral can be made at that point.) To get a full picture, assessment should ideally include:

  • a neurodevelopmental (or a neuropsychological or neurocognitive) assessment – this will test adaptive planning and executive functioning,
  • a thorough speech and language assessment – this will explore not only how a person speaks but also should test receptive language (what they are understanding and processing), and
  • a sensory integration assessment from a specially trained Occupational Therapist (this should highlight areas of sensory challenges and provide what is sometimes called a ‘sensory diet’ of activities you can do at home to help with sensory issues).


For adults, it can be more challenging to get a diagnosis. Discuss your concerns with your GP. Explain that you are concerned you might have FASD. Bring any proof you have (as above) and ask the GP to refer for a neuropsychological assessment. Even if it doesn’t lead to an FASD diagnosis, this assessment can identify any problems with processing and will be useful in supporting any claims for benefits or additional support at work.

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