The diagnostic criteria for FASD,
were initially standardized by the Fetal Alcohol Group of the
Research Society on Alcoholism (Rosett 1980) and later modified
by Sokol and Clarren (1989), are the following:
Prenatal or postnatal
or either (weight, length, or both below
the 10th percentile when corrected for gestational age).
Central nervous system
, including neurological abnormality, developmental
delay, intellectual impairment, and structural abnormalities.
A distinctive pattern
of facial anomalies
, including short palpebral fissures (eye
openings); a thin upper lip; an elongated, flattened midface;
and an indistinct philtrum (the zone between the nose and the
Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy
be documented to confirm a FASD diagnosis (Aase 1994).
Despite consensus regarding these criteria
researchers and clinicians continue to experience considerable
difficulty in diagnosing FASD, in large part because none of the
characteristic abnormalities is specific to the diagnosis (Aase
1994). A person who is otherwise healthy may display one or two
of the diagnostic traits.
Furthermore, specific facial abnormalities
can be subtle and difficult to recognize; their expression can
change as a person ages (Aase 1994; Streissguth et al. 1991);
and their severity may vary among individuals as well as among
different racial and ethnic groups (Abel and Sokol 1991; Ernhart
et al. 1989; May 1991; Sokol et al. 1986).