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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?

    FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Effects can include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities. The term FASD is not intended for use as a clinical diagnosis.
  2. How can I prevent fetal alcohol syndrome?

    The best thing you can do is to not drink when you might become pregnant. If you are already pregnant, quit drinking alcohol immediately and seek prenatal care.
  3. What causes FASD?

    The only cause of FASD is alcohol use during pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. There is also no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can affect the baby every trimester of pregnancy.
  4. Is there a cure for FASD?

    FASD cannot be cured. The brain damage that occurs to an unborn baby when the mother drinks alcohol cannot be changed or reversed. However, people with FASD can learn to function well in life when given a stable and loving home, techniques and strategies for easier learning, and patience and guidance from those around them.
  5. How common is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

    In the United States, about 1,200 children are born each year with fetal alcohol syndrome. One in every 100 babies will have FASD. FASD is now more prevalent than Spina Bifida, Downís Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy combined.
  6. Why do women choose to drink when they are pregnant when they know it can harm their baby?

    For women who drink large quantities of alcohol during pregnancy, choice is not the issue. Alcoholism is a progressive disease that can prevent a woman from maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Other issues that can factor in include domestic violence, lack of available resources, and access to care. For treatment options, contact ARC Community Services at 608-278-2300.
  7. What if I am pregnant and I canít stop drinking?

    Be honest with your doctor. Tell him or her how much you are drinking. Your doctor may be able to help you stop drinking and show you positive options regarding prenatal care.
  8. How will I know if my child has FASD?

    FASD is only caused by a mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. If you know someone who might be affected, here are some signs to look for:

    • Infants: Low birth weight; sensitivity to light, noise and touch; irritability; Unable to suck effectively; slow to develop; ear infections; poor sleep/wake cycles.
    • Toddlers: Poor memory; hyperactivity; no fear; no sense of boundaries; need for a lot of physical contact.
    • School-Age Children: Easily distracted; short attention span; poor coordination; trouble with large and fine motor skills; a need for a lot of one-on-one attention.
    • Older Children and Adults: Low self-esteem; trouble keeping up in school or at a job; poor impulse control; difficulty with public versus private environments; must be reminded of concepts on a daily basis.
    These signs may also be present in children without FASD, however you will notice that ďtypicalĒ parenting will not results in changes in behavior for children prenatally exposed to alcohol. If you think a child has FASD, consult a qualified professional.
  9. How do I have my child diagnosed with FASD?

    FASD can only be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional. Call Family Empowerment Network at 1-800-462-5254 or email them at for a referral. You can also share your concerns with the childís pediatrician.
  10. How can I refer someone to ARCís Project Smart Start?

    Project Smart Start educational curriculum and motivational interviewing protocol are currently offered to women between the ages of 18-44 who are in substance abuse treatment at one of the programs at ARC Community Services. To refer someone for treatment call ARC Intake at 608-283-6426. If you are interested in learning more about Project Smart Start call 608-278-2300 or email

Project Smart Start


Frequently Asked Questions



Project Contact Information

Paulette Romashko, Project Director
ARC Community Services, Inc.
2001 West Beltline Hwy, Suite 102
Madison, WI 53713
Phone: 608-278-2300
Fax: 608-278-2313

Copyright © 2006, ARC Community Services, All Rights Reserved.