FASD Words and Terms

Words used to describe and diagnose FASD have changed.

The FASD Ontario website provides a wide range of information about FASD. It includes links to provincial, national and international sites. Since the Canadian Diagnostic Guidelines for FASD were published in 2016, some of the sites may not use up-to-date terms. The FASD Ontario database y may include sites that use older diagnostic terms or other out-dated words but they are included because they contain valuable information about FASD.

Currently used Canadian diagnostic terms:

  • FASD with Sentinel Facial Features (FASD)
  • FASD without Sentinel Facial Features (FASD)

Older Canadian diagnostic terms before 2016:

  • FAS: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (replaced with: FASD with Sentinel Facial Features)
  • pFAS: Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (replaced with: FASD without Sentinel Facial Features)
  • ARND: Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (replaced with: FASD without Sentinel Facial Features)

Other terms you may read:

  • ARBD: Alcohol-Related Birth Defect
  • BI: Brain Injury refers to an unexpected change in structure, wiring, formation, and development of the brain at any age which is usually measured by neuropsychological, speech/language, social language, motor and sensory assessments
  • Encephalopathy: brain disease, damage, or malfunction resulting in a very broad spectrum of symptoms that range from mild (e.g., some memory loss or subtle personality changes) to severe (e.g., seizures or coma)
  • FAE: Fetal Alcohol Effects
  • FAS/Alcohol Exposed: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and confirmed PAE
  • FAS/Alcohol Exposure Unknown: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome with no confirmation of PAE
  • NDD: Neurodevelopmental Disorder refers a group of disorders where development of the central nervous system (e.g., brain and spinal cord) is disturbed or changed (e.g., FASD, Autism, etc.)
  • ND-PAE: Neurobehavioural Disorder and confirmed PAE
  • NAS: Neonatal abstinence syndrome refers to the condition of an infant born with symptoms of drug addiction and withdrawal after being prenatally exposed to drugs
  • Neurobehavioural Disorder: refers to a large group of behavioral changes/deficits/impairments seen in association with brain disease (e.g., stroke, multiple sclerosis, etc.) and transient as well as permanent brain impairments (e.g., metabolic and toxic encephalopathies such as FASD), and/or injury (e.g., trauma, hypoxia, etc.)
  • Neurobehavioural Disorder/Alcohol Exposed: (See ND-PAE)
  • PAE: Prenatal Alcohol Exposure
  • Partial FAS/Alcohol Exposed: some of the facial features present and confirmed PAE
  • PEE: Prenatal Ethanol (e.g., alcohol) Exposure
  • PSE: Prenatal Substance Exposure refers to prenatal exposure to a variety of substances including street drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc., and may also include poor prenatal nutrition
  • Sentinel Physical Finding(s)/Neurobehavioural Disorder/Alcohol Exposed: some growth and facial features present and cognitive/ behavioural findings may be related to confirmed PAE
  • Sentinel Physical Finding(s)/Static Encephalopathy/Alcohol Exposed: some growth and facial features present and significant CNS findings and confirmed PAE
  • Static Encephalopathy/Alcohol Exposed: presence of significant CNS damage/dysfunction and PAE confirmed