Objective: The long-term outcome of a large cohort of children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome was studied.
Method: Structured psychiatric interviews, behavior checklists for parents and teachers, and intelligence tests were used. Assessments took place during preschool age, early school age (6 to 12 years), and late school age (> or = 13 years).
Results: There was an excess of psychopathology with a wide variety of psychiatric syndromes in this cohort. Hyperkinetic disorders, emotional disorders, sleep disorders, and abnormal habits and stereotypes persisted over time. Interview findings were largely in accordance with parents' and teachers' questionnaire findings. Intelligence test findings included a large proportion of mentally retarded children and displayed high stability at follow-up.
Conclusions: The development of children suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome is jeopardized by a high rate of persistent psychiatric and cognitive impairments.