Agreement on terminology for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

At an historic summit hosted by the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, national experts including for the first time representatives from the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Health Canada came together to produce and sign onto a unanimous agreement on terminology for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

"There is so much confusion around what to call the broader effects of prenatal alcohol exposure when a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome cannot be made," said summit co-chair Dr. José Cordero, Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. "Acceptance of this new terminology will go a long way toward getting individuals with the wide range of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders the recognition, treatment, and services they need."

Summit participants stressed the importance of having a term that communicates the range of issues surrounding Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. "The terminology should serve the individual with the disorder, their parents and those who seek services for the affected individual," said summit co-chair Dr. Kenneth Warren, Office of Scientific Affairs Director, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NOFAS Chairman, Terry Lierman, expanded on this by saying, "Our chief concern is that parents, families, and public policy officials speak with one voice when it comes to treatment and prevention."

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