Most people with FASD will have normal intelligence and their are those who have high intelligence and are gifted but they can still struggle. Prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of prenatal neurological challenges.
According to one study, 86% of individuals with FASD have an IQ in the "normal" range and do not qualify for services for developmental disabilities. They nevertheless have impaired mental functioning caused by brain damage that is permanent and irreversible.
According to Streissguth and other studies, the higher the IQ the more persons with FASD are misunderstood and have poorer outcomes. Those with the hidden neurological challenges and appear normal are set up for expectations that they cannot meet. Schools, society and employers cannot see their hidden challenges.
Think Developmental Age and Chronological Age. This can be hard as they are often times functioning well below their Chronological Age. But they do not want to be treated differently.
Understanding in Adults with FASD from Nofas
Often times their strong verbal skills can hide or mask the deficiencies and it can be confusing to those working with them. My kids would have memorized the answers and may not be able to put into practice what they know. Executive function, memory, social skills, cause and effect are all can be affected. I have learned in my 20 years of working with those with FASD that they can be good actors. They have learned to mimic normal and when you double check for understanding often times they cannot explain. People with FASD can be vulnerable to suggestion and wanting to be accepted can lead to victimization. They can struggle with predicting outcomes and having a trusted people to coach and problem solve need to be part of transition and lifelong planning.
Secondary Disabilities in FASD.
Over 90 to 98% of those with FASD will have or develop secondary mental health challenges.
According to research only 8 percent of those with an FASD will live independent successfully. The rest will need a spectrum of support geared to their own unique needs.
What happens when we do not support those with FASD in adulthood adequately?
Check out the statistics
Families know all too well. On our Parenting FASD Teens and Adults caregivers and parents share our challenges and our grief at just how hard it is to find support and understanding for our Teens and Adults with FASD. Most will struggle with jobs, qualifying for disability services and their "normal IQ" The adults with FASD especially in the transition years of 17 to 27 the lessons are often learned the hard way by all involved.
Persons with FASD need a circle of support. As we advocate for those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders we lifelong person centered supports tailored to each individuals strengths, challenges and choices so they can live successfully in our communities.