Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. The term “FASD” is not intended for use as a clinical diagnosis. It refers to conditions such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS), Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD).
Although the adverse effects of alcohol use during pregnancy have long been recognized, critical gaps in knowledge about FASD remain. Professionals, from all sectors, may come into contact with individuals affected by FASD on a regular basis yet do not recognize the disability or understand its effects. Conference presentations and information sessions have been presented on such topics as the primary and secondary effects of FASD, but few training programs have been specifically tailored to police officers, RCMP officers, corrections officers, lawyers, court workers and social workers/psychologists.