The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on child development

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Prenatal exposure to alcohol can be the cause of a growing child's learning and behavior problems, since alcohol is a teratogen. Exposure to large quantities of alcohol before birth can lead to the developmental disability and medical diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and there may be a range of alcoholrelated birth defects. This article presents the characteristics of fetal alcohol-affected infants and young children, compares FAS with other childhood disorders, and explains the usefulness of recognizing fetal alcohol effects. Case histories and guidelines are presented to assist in formulating intervention strategies for fetal alcohol-affected children.

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