Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

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Fetal alcohol exposure is the most common cause of developmental disabilities in children.  Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term for a range of conditions that affect a child’s health and development. FASD includes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and other related conditions.


FASD affects a child’s physical appearance, behavior and learning abilities. FASDs are caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

We offer an integrated program customized for your child. An expert  team with doctors from Pediatric Clinic Neuroscience and Adoption Medicine programs address your child's needs. Your child does not have to be adopted to be evaluated. Pediatricians, neuropsychologists, occupational and speech therapists, teachers, social workers, and others work with you and your child.

Integrated multi-specialty care for your child includes: 
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • History and physical examinations
  • Parent training programs
  • Educational programming assistance
  • Case management coordination
  • Referral assistance to other specialties and services
 We also collaborate with Special Education Services of the Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome for support services.
Schedule and prepare for your first appointment
Call 612-365-6777 and ask for the "FASD Packet." 
You will receive a questionnaire to return in advance of your appointment. Medical records and photos are required for the first visit:
  • Growth information
  • Past medical records
  • Pre-pubertal photos of your child not smiling, especially if your child is in or past puberty.

What to expect

Your child will meet with two providers, a neuropsychologist with the Pediatric Psychology program, and a medical doctor trained in FASD assessment. When you return the FASD packet, the neuropsychologist's staff will contact you to set up an appointment. During your visit, your child will have cognitive (reasoning) and developmental testing. You will receive a complete report from this session. 

At the medical appointment, the doctor will review your child's history and do a physical examination, and an occupational or physical therapist will do a developmental assessment. Information from these exams, along with any potential diagnosis, will be included in the session report.

Programs and services

The FASD program dates back to 1978. Over the years it has evolved into a complete multi-specialty diagnostic program on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Your child will be in the hands of a care team including a pediatrician, pediatric neuropsychologist, pediatric psychologist, occupational therapist and speech-language clinician. Biomedical research through the University of Minnesota Medical School, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Psychiatry allows us to advance the art and science of clinical medicine. This is how research developments become available to you through our clinic.

The program staff also collaborates with Special Education Services of Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on translational research about how to implement services based on the neuropsychological assessment data for students within the school system.

Frequently asked questions

Who can get an appointment?
Any child suspected of fetal alcohol exposure. The FASD subspecialty is offered jointly by the International Adoption Center and Pediatric Neuropsychology programs. Your child does NOT need to be adopted to get an evaluation.

Why get an evaluation?
The sooner you know your child has FASD, the sooner you can use available services that are crucial for helping children and families succeed and live happy lives.

What is FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term that refers to a collection of effects on a child whose birth mother consumed alcohol while she was pregnant. Exposure to alcohol before a child is born can affect the child in a number of ways:

  • Difficulty with learning
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Changes in physical features
  • Poor growth
  • Mental health issues

These effects have consequences for a child’s lifetime. Learn more through the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Adoption Medicine

Pediatric Psychology

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