Affect Regulation
Emotional control. Your ability to connect what she thinks and knows to how she feels and reacts. Poor emotional control might cause a person to overreact or respond inappropriately to things that upset them. For example, if a child loses their video game time because they didn’t finish their chores, they may have a tantrum because their siblings still have their game time.

At risk for neurodevelopmental disorder and FASD, associated with prenatal alcohol exposure.
A designation for infants and young children who do not meet the diagnostic criteria for FASD but have confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure and early signs of developmental concerns. Children with this designation should be re-assessed once they are school-age to determine if they meet the diagnostic criteria for FASD.

Auditory working memory

The ability to hold onto information you hear long enough to use it. It’s what helps you remember the five words you just read so you can understand how they fit together in a sentence. It’s also what helps you remember a phone number someone just said to you long enough to dial it.

The many different ways your brain automatically makes sense of things. When experts refer to cognition or to cognitive skills, they mean how you think, know, remember, judge and problem-solve.

Executive Functioning
A set of mental skills that help you complete tasks. Examples of executive functioning include: time management, paying attention, etc.

FASD with Sentinel Facial Features
Diagnostic criteria include: Confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure, the presence of all 3 characteristic facial features (short palpebral fissures, smooth philtrum, thin upper lip), and evidence of impairment in 3 or more of the following central nervous system (CNS) domains: Neuroanatomy/neurophysiology (refers to brain structure), motor skills, cognition, language, academic achievement, memory, attention, executive function, affect regulation (reflects anxiety, depressive, and mood dysregulation disorders), adaptive behaviour, social skills or social communication.

FASD without Sentinel Facial Features
The diagnostic criteria include: Confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure and evidence of CNS impairment as above. 

Flexible thinking

The ability to think of alternate ways of doing things, integrate new ideas into existing thinking, and abandon what isn’t working to try a new approach. If a person has difficulty seeing other viewpoints or gets stuck on ideas even if they’re not the best plans, experts might describe that person as a “rigid thinker.”

Physical structure of the brain and nervous system

The way the neurological system functions


The ways a person gathers and stores information to use in the future. When experts talk about organization, it’s not just about lining things up or putting them away. They’re also referring to how a person stores and manages information in their brain so they can pull it out of their mental filing cabinet when they need to use it.


The ability to keep track of performance on a task, assess how it measures up to a goal, and catch and correct mistakes. Without self-monitoring skills, a person may set the dinner table without noticing that they are putting the silverware in the wrong place and then be surprised when the table doesn’t look like it should.

Task initiation

The ability to get started on an activity and come up with ideas or problem-solving strategies on your own. For example, a person may not be able to initiate the task of cleaning their room because they can’t figure out the first thing to do or any of the steps after that.

Visual-spatial working memory

The ability to use your “mind’s eye” to hold onto visual information long enough to use it. Visual-spatial memory is like a camera in your brain. It can take snapshots to help you do things like search through laundry to find a sock that matches one you’ve seen before. It helps you recall where new things are and where you are in relation to them—for example, finding the bathroom in the middle of the night at a friend’s house without bumping into walls.

Working memory

The ability to hold onto information in order to complete a task or activity. Working memory is a combination of auditory and visual-spatial memory, and relies on attention skills, too. If you have weak working memory skills, things may “slip your mind” or be “right on the tip of your tongue.”