Does Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) always show MRI brain abnormalities?
No, not to my knowledge. I will give you a perfect example. I have a little boy on my caseload. He is four years old. It is definitely substantiated that he has FAS which is the primary diagnosis. FASD is an umbrella term; it is not a clinical or medical diagnoses. We (pediatrician and I) know he has FAS, but his gains were so slow, so halting, and so labored, even with very intensive therapy. So both the pediatrician and I decided we wanted to look at what was happening to his brain. He was sent for an MRI and basically the MRI showed absolutely nothing. Since then, I have referred a couple of other children for MRI. Again, nothing showed. The brain looked fine, but in reality this child's progress and prenatal history were clearly showing that he has FAS. Sometimes a lesion may be too small to be detected on the scan but may have profound effect on cognition
Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP is a bilingual speech language pathologist who specializes in working with multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted as well as at-risk children with complex communication disorders. She is a member of NY and NJ, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) multidisciplinary teams, the aim of which is to provide specialized services including speech language assessment and intervention to children identified or presenting with features of FASD.