Alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND) is one of the conditions under the umbrella of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), commonly known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FASD is a general term used to describe many different problems that a child may have if their mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Symptoms of ARND include a complex range of thinking and brain development (neurodevelopment) issues, as well as behavior problems. Specifically, children affected by ARND may have trouble with learning and will usually lack skills that help with everyday tasks (adaptive skills). Unlike other FASDs, ARND does not have physical features, such as abnormal facial features.
ARND is a result of maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. The alcohol in the mother’s blood stream reaches the developing baby through the placenta and causes the issues seen in the FASDs. A risk factor for ARND includes having a mother who has already given birth to a child with a FASD. Most doctors can diagnose ARND in a child, but doctors who specialize in child development may have more experience with the diagnosis and will be more familiar with the guidelines to diagnose the condition. There is not a treatment for ARND, but medications to help behavior and therapies to improve development can be helpful. If your child has been diagnosed with ARND, talk with their doctor about all the current treatment options. Support groups are available for more information and to connect with other families affected by ARND.