Children with FASD display a heterogeneous profile and may have deficits in physical, behavioural, emotional, and social functioning, as the result of prenatal alcohol exposure. The major objective of the current study was to identify if a specific pattern of neuropsychological functioning exists among children prenatally exposed to alcohol who received a diagnosis, versus exposed children who did not. We compared groups on domains of intellectual functioning, memory, attention, executive functioning, motor functioning, language/communication and achievement.
One hundred and seventy children who were seen in the clinic between 2005 and 2009 were included in this study. Out of the total 170 children seen, 109 received an FASD diagnosis.
We identified a specific neuropsychological profile that typifies children diagnosed with an FASD versus those exposed prenatally to alcohol, who did not receive a diagnosis. Diagnosed children displayed a neuropsychological profile characterized by weaknesses in the areas of verbal reasoning, memory, overall language functioning, math reasoning and calculation. Groups did not differ on measures of attention or executive functioning.
The information gained from these analyses, are essential for informing best practices for diagnosis and treatment.
Key Words: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, neuropsychological profile, diagnosis