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Secondary disability
When discussing FASD, secondary disabilities “are disabilities that an individual is not born with, but may be acquired as a result of the CNS [Central Nervous System] deficits” associated with FASD (definition from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities). Examples of secondary disabilities are mental health problems (such as ADHD, Conduct Disorder), disrupted school experience, legal problems (such as theft, running away), inappropriate sexual behavior, or dependent living. Not every individual with FASD has or exhibits secondary disabilities.

The ability to “supervise” oneself. This includes (but is not limited to) impulse control and behaving/responding appropriately to one’s surroundings. Children with FASD may have problems with self-regulation due to brain and nerve damage from fetal alcohol exposure.

Any sudden, uncoordinated discharge of electrical activity in the brain.

Sensory Integration Dysfunction
Sensory Integration Dysfunction is the brain’s inability to correctly process information brought in by the senses. Such “processing deficits” can be manifested in many ways. Sensory Integration Dysfunction is common with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, and FASD. When a child has a visual processing deficit, he/she have a hard time finding the words for objects being seen. Or, if asked to go get an object, a child might look right at it and then say he/she can’t find it. The brain sees the object but doesn't process the information. With an auditory processing deficit, a child hears what you say but the brain does not process it so the child can understand it—or it takes several minutes for what you have said to “click” with the child. One way to help with auditory processing deficits is to break down instructions into individual steps and give only one step at a time. This is an effective intervention for children with FASD.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
A federal program that provides assistance to people with disabilities. To qualify for benefits, a person must have 1) worked in jobs that pay Social Security, 2) have a condition that meets Social Security’s definition of a disability, and 3) meet certain medical criteria. Monthly cash benefits are available to eligible people who are unable to work for a year or more because of a disability. People with FASD may qualify for these benefits. For more information, visit

Social worker
A licensed health care professional who seeks to improve a person’s well-being through casework (linking clients with agencies and programs that will meet their psychosocial needs), counseling, human services management, social welfare policy analysis, community organizing, advocacy, teaching (in schools of social work), and social science research.

Special education teacher
A general term for a teacher specifically trained to work with children who have various disabilities. Children with FASD may need a special education teacher if they require a modified curriculum that cannot be taught effectively in a regular classroom, or intense intervention beyond the scope of what a classroom teacher or a teaching assistant may be able to offer. Children may spend part or much of their daily classroom time with a special education teacher, depending on individual needs.

Speech and Language Pathologist
The formal term for a speech therapist.

Speech therapist (formally known as a Speech and Language Pathologist)
A licensed health care specialist who can diagnose and treat a variety of speech, voice, and language disorders. Infants with FASD often have problems sucking and swallowing, which can be helped with speech therapy. Children with FASD see speech therapists for help with expressive language (communicating), receptive language (comprehending spoken language, which includes sequencing and understanding directions), and cognition (reasoning, logic, problem solving, attending, organizing information, and understanding boundaries).

A group of eye conditions commonly called: eye turns, crossed eyes, cross-eyed, wall-eyes, wandering eyes, deviating eye, etc. The eye deviates as it looks toward an object. It can be caused by injuries to the eye muscles, but more commonly it’s a result of damage to the brain's “control system.” Effective treatments are available to correct these conditions.

Supplemental Security Income
A federal program designed to help aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income. It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. To qualify for benefits, a person must have a disability and meet certain medical criteria. People with FASD may qualify for these benefits. For information about eligibility, visit

A group of symptoms linked by a common anatomical, biochemical, or pathological history. For example: irritable bowel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome. A syndrome can have many causes.

Anything that adversely affects normal cellular development in the embryo or fetus.

Tourette Syndrome
A neurodevelopmental disorder of childhood, characterized by repetitive motor and verbal tics. Learning disabilities occur frequently along with Tourette Syndrome (TS). TS may occur with FASD.

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales
A group of assessments that measure skills in the areas of communication, daily living and socialization, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Many professionals consider this the most accurate way to measure “non-verbal skills.” Psychologists and social workers may use the Vineland products to evaluate developmental delays and differentiate diagnoses of conditions including FASD.

A physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the urinary tract of both sexes, and the male genital tract.

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