This site introduces the neurobehavioural difficulties that may appear throughout the lifespan of individuals with FASD. It is important to recognize that, being a spectrum disorder, FASD can look different for different individuals. Not all individuals with FASD will experience all of the issues presented here. However, this site summarizes the common neurobehavioural features of FASD found in current research. The problems presented on this site are not necessarily gender-specific.
Adaptive Functioning Difficulties
Adaptive function, otherwise known as adaptive behaviour involves many aspects of functioning, such as communication, daily living skills, and social skills. It is common for people with FASD to have adaptive functioning problems resulting in the need for support and structure. An underdevelopment in this area can result in issues regarding daily life skills. These skills include personal hygiene maintenance, eating healthy food, and behaving at the dinner table. That being said, these types of behaviours are easily modeled, rehearsed, and reinforced.
As the individual ages, expectations for independent adaptive functioning grow, which might lead to increased problems in adolescence and adulthood. When these individuals do not meet these increasing expectations at the same rate as their peers, both they and the people they interact with may experience frustration. Adding to this difficulty, it is not uncommon for skills to be unevenly developed, so there may be times when an individual appears to be functioning effectively on their own, and then other times when significant challenges in task demands or environmental supports, and serve to add to frustration and sometimes create the impression of willful lack of effort or interest. Such frustration and misunderstandings can have a negative effect on social functioning and mental health. The area of adaptive function most affected by prenatal alcohol exposure appears to be social functioning.