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Term Definition
Alcohol Related Birth Defects -physical birth defects that are often related to FASD (caused by alcohol) but can have other causes, eg. Cleft palate, heart murmurs, and scoliosis. ARBD is not considered a FASD diagnosis in the newest Canadian FASD diagnostic guidelines.
Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder- is the brain damage caused by recognized alcohol consumption in pregnancy. ARND brain damage is equivalent to brain damage in full fetal alcohol syndrome but lacks growth deficiencies and facial birth defects. This is the most common form of FASD; hundreds of thousands of Canadians have ARND. Most are not diagnosed.
Basal Ganglia
are the large masses of gray matter at the base of the cerebral hemisphere. It affects spatial memory and behaviours like perseveration and the inability to switch modes, work toward goals, and predict outcomes of actions.
a major division of the vertebrate brain; situated above the medulla oblongata and beneath the cerebrum in humans. It has many functions including cognition, voluntary muscle movement, behaviour, memory and the maintenance of posture and balance.
Co-occurring Diagnoses
are diagnoses that occur at the same time. Co-occurring diagnoses are extremely common with FASD. Typical additional diagnoses include R/AD-Radical Attachment Disorder, OCD-Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ODD-Oppositional Defiant Disorder, CD-Conduct Disorder, BPD-Borderline Personality, SID-Sensory Information Disorder, AD/HD-Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, LD-Learning Disorder, and Depression.
Corpus Callosum
The arched bridge of nervous tissue that connects the two cerebral hemispheres, allowing communication between the right and left sides of the brain. The structure that passes information from the left brain (rules, logic) to the right brain (impulse, feelings) and back again.
The posterior part of the forebrain that connects the midbrain with the cerebral hemispheres, encloses the third ventricle, and contains the thalamus and hypothalamus. Also called the interbrain, it functions as a relay centre within the brain.
is a classic sign of FASD described by Clarren, Malbin and Streissguth. A person with FASD will simultaneously exhibit behaviours common to people of different ages. For example, someone with FASD might be 18 years of age, sound like a 22 year old (expressive language), act like a 6 year old in a social and moral sense, read like a young teen and understand time and money at about the same level as a 12 year old. People with FASD tend to catch up to themselves as much as they are going to by their early to mid-thirties.
is the faulty formation of the structures of shape or form in the developing embryo.
condition of abnormal development.
Epicanthal folds
extra skin at the inner corners of the eyes, common in Aboriginal Peoples.
Executive Functions
are the higher-order brain functions that enable us to meet goals and solve problems through planning, initiating and maintaining behaviour. They include self-motivation, self-regulation, capacity to use working memory and inhibition. Due to prefrontal cortex damage, as well as injury to other parts of the brain, these abilities are often missing or very limited in persons with FASD.
External Brains
refers to a concept relied upon heavily in successful FASD intervention efforts. People with FASD benefit from having one or more people in their lives with whom they have an interdependent and supportive relationship. The “external brains" may be family members, friends, community volunteers or professionals providing services. External brains can perform a variety of functions. Examples are: doing some of the thinking that a person with FASD cannot do, steer them in the right directions, remind them of obligations and managing their money for them.
Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) is the old name for ARND, Static Encephalopathy and Neurobehavioural Disorder. This term is not diagnosed in Canada and is used less and less often today.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a medical diagnosis used to describe an individual born with permanent brain damage, growth deficiencies and three facial birth defects resulting from prenatal exposure to alcohol. Confirmation of maternal alcohol use in pregnancy is not required for this rare diagnosis. FAS occurs in about 1% of all alcohol-affected births.