Main Article Content

Valerie Temple
Lauren Shewfelt
Leeping Tao
Josee Casati
Linda Klevnick


Fetal Alcohol, FASD, daily living skills, adaptive behaviour, adult



Prenatal alcohol exposure is an established risk factor for cognitive deficits. Adults with FASD also have deficits in their Adaptive Daily Living skills (ADLs) relative to age-appropriate norms, but the degree to which this can be attributed to cognitive deficits is unclear.



To examine ADLs in adults with FASD and compare them to a group of clinic referred individuals with similar IQ scores but without FASD.



Fifteen adults with FASD and 15 IQ matched controls were included. Wechsler Intelligence tests were used to measure IQ, and the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-II (ABAS-II) was used to measure ADLs.



Compared to IQ matched controls, individuals with FASD had significantly lower overall ADLs (p=.03). Mean scores across all sub-domains on the ABAS-II were lower for the FASD group. Mean standard scores for ADLs in the FASD group were 11 points lower than mean IQ. In the control group, the difference was only 2 points.



Adults with FASD may have lower daily living skills than individuals with similar IQ scores. This suggests that IQ is not a good predictor of ADLs in adults with FASD.

Abstract 120 | PDF Downloads 73


1. Kodituwakku P. Defining the behavioral phenotype in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: A review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 2007;31:192–201.
2. Matson S, Roesch S, Fagerlund A, Autti- Ramo I, Lyons Jones K, May P, Adnams C, Konovalova V, Riley E, & CIFASD. Towards a neuropsychological profile of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2010;34:1640-50.
3. Greenbaum R, Nulman I, Rovet J, Koren G. The Toronto experience in diagnosing alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder: A unique profile of deficits and assets. Can J Clin Pharmacol 2002;9: 215-25.
4. Chudley A, Conry J, Cook J, Loock C, Rosales T, LeBlanc N. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: Canadian guidelines for diagnosis. CMAJ 2005;172:S1-S21.
5. Kerns K, Don A, Mateer C, Streissguth A. Cognitive deficits in nonretarded adults with FAS. J of Learning Disabilities 1997;30:685- 693.
6. Chudley A, Kilgour A, Cranston M, Edwards M. Challenges of diagnosis in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the adult. Amer J of Medical Genetics 2007;145C: 261-272.
7. Streissguth A, Aase J, Clarren S, Randels S, LaDue R, Smith D. Fetal alcohol syndrome in adolescents and adults. JAMA 1991;265:1961-67.
8. Barr H, Bookstein F, O’Malley K, O’Connor P, Huggins J, Streissguth A. Binge drinking during pregnancy as a predictor of psychiatric disorders on the structure clinical interview for DSM-IV in young adult offspring. Am J of Psychiatry 2006;163:1061-70.
9. Whaley S, O’Connor M, Gunderson B. Comparison of the adaptive functioning of children prenatally exposed to alcohol to a nonexposed clinical sample. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2001;25:118-124.
10. Thomas S, Kelly S, Mattson S, Riley E. Comparison of social abilities of children with fetal alcohol syndrome to those of children with similar IQ scores and normal controls. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1998;22:528-33.
11. Coles C, Brown R, Smith I, et al. Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure at school age. I. Physical and cognitive development. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 1991;13:357-67.
12. Spohr H, Willms J, Steinhausen H. Fetal Alcohol spectrum disorders in young adulthood. J Pediatr 2007;150:175-9.
13. Streissguth A, Bookstein R, Barr H, Sampson P, O’Malley K, Kogan Young J. Risk factors for adverse life outcomes in FAS and FAE. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 2004;25:138-149.
14. Harrison P. & Oakland T. Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-II: Manual. San Antonio, Tx: Psychological Corporation 2003.
15. Rasmussen C. Executive functioning and working memory in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2005;29:1359-67.