Fetal alcohol syndrome: Diagnosis, epidemiology, and developmental outcomes


Ms Colleen O’Leary, Senior Policy Officer, Child, Community and Primary Health Care Directorate, Department of Health, Western Australia, 8th Floor, East Point Plaza, 233 Adelaide Terrace, Perth, WA 6000, Australia. Fax: +61 8 9323 6699; email: Colleen.O’Leary@health.wa.gov.au


Abstract:  In Australia the issue of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has not been the subject of policy development or of extensive research. There is a lack of knowledge, both in the general community and by health professionals, of the nature of the risks associated with heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the factors that increase this risk. This paper reviews the literature surrounding FAS with the aim of providing the reader an understanding of the diagnostic features and epidemiology of FAS and of the developmental sequelae associated with this syndrome.