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How ADHD & Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Symptoms Get Mixed Up

[Source: Special Ed Post]

mathewThough still high, the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among American kids may be overstated by confusion with fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) — a broad diagnosis describing the effects of maternal drinking during pregnancy.

Researchers at McGill University say parents and educators often confuse the symptoms of FASD with the other disorder, not realizing such kids function at a younger mental age than their peers. Jacob Burack, a professor of educational and counseling psychology there, made a study of 14 children with FASD recruited from a hospital in British Columbia.

“Because the link between fetal alcohol syndrome and ADHD is so commonly described in the literature, both parents and teachers are more likely to expect these children to have attention problems,” Burack said in a statement. “But what teachers often don’t recognize is that although the child they are dealing with is 11 years old in chronological terms, they are actually functioning at the developmental age of an eight-year old. That’s a pretty big difference.”

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