Children with ASD and FASD both struggle in social interactions, but in different ways. While children with ASD often appear aloof and uninterested in social interactions, children with FASD tend to not only be interested in social interactions, but also indiscriminately friendly with poor boundaries and no sense of “stranger danger” (a pattern seen in the disinhibited social engagement disorder subtype of reactive attachment disorder). Furthermore, when children with FASD do approach others or engage socially, they often lack the interpersonal skills necessary to move the interaction forward in a positive way. Such behaviors might include inappropriate statements or questions; difficulties with compromising, cooperating or taking different roles with other children; difficulty with sharing; and hyperactive or impulsive behavior that is difficult to manage from the standpoint of their interaction partner. Children with FASD struggle with social cues and often misunderstand or misinterpret facial expressions and eye gazes from other people. They also tend not to understand information conveyed by speech prosody. [Stevens: 2013]
Children with FASD were better able to use gestures and nonverbal communication to interact; demonstrate empathy and sharing enjoyment in social overtures; use a greater range of facial expressions during social interactions when compared with ASD children who demonstrated a characteristically restricted pattern of use of facial expressions and gestures to communicate emotions. Thus, “shared affect behaviors” were relatively less impaired in FASD children when compared with ASD counterparts.
|Lead Author:||Patrick Shea, MD - 4/2017|
|Reviewing Author:||Deborah Bilder, MD - 4/2017|
|Content Last Updated:||3/2017|
Bishop S, Gahagan S, Lord C.
Re-examining the core features of autism: a comparison of autism spectrum disorder and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2007;48(11):1111-21. PubMed abstract
Stevens SA, Nash K, Koren G, Rovet J.
Autism characteristics in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
Child Neuropsychol. 2013;19(6):579-87. PubMed abstract