Characteristics and Physical Effects

We cannot see the neurological effects of FASD, but there are a number of invisible characteristics and many possible physical effects.

Invisible characteristics Physical effects
  • attention and memory deficits
  • hyperactivity
  • difficulty with abstract concepts (eg maths, time and money)
  • confused social skills
  • poor problem solving skills
  • difficulty learning from consequences
  • poor judgement
  • immature 
  • poor impulse control
  • smaller head circumference
  • heart problems
  • limb damage
  • kidney damage
  • damage to the structure of the brain
  • eye problems
  • hearing problems
  • specific facial characteristics, including a flat nasal bridge, upturned nose, thin upper lip and smooth philtrum (the vertical groove between the upper lip and nose)

Without the appropriate support, people with FASD have a high risk of developing secondary disabilities such as psychiatric issues, disrupted school experience and alcohol and drug problems.