The Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) (Online)

The Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Course dates                                                                                          Semester 2  
Course credits                                                                                        20  
Course delivery                                                                                      Online  
Academic co-ordinator                                                                       Dr Suzanne O'Rourke  

Course description

The course will focus on the diagnostic criteria of FASD and the application to practice and will explore the core diagnostic criteria of FASD and how assessments undertaken inform the diagnosis. The course will provide an overview of the main diagnostic approaches used internationally including the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) 156: Children and Young People Exposed Prenatally to Alcohol clinical guidelines, the Canadian guidelines, the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual; 5 (DSM-V) Neurobehavioural Disorder associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the University of Washington 4-Digit Diagnostic Method.

Online teaching content will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the diagnostic criteria for FASD, the process of assessment across the lifespan and post-diagnosis considerations. For those students who have not elected to complete the optional foundation course, Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Context, Contributors and Clinical Presentation, pre-course reading materials will provide a recap of key learning points.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe and demonstrate a critical understanding of the FASD diagnostic criteria that is relevant to their jurisdiction, and of the complexities of FASD conceptualisation and diagnosis
  • Apply their in-depth knowledge of the diagnostic criteria of FASD, congruent with their professional qualifications, to critically evaluate the evidence for and against a diagnosis and, as part of a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team, to formulate a FASD diagnosis
  • Communicate a diagnosis of FASD sensitively, taking into consideration a person-centred, trauma-informed approach
  • Develop, through critical analysis of assessment results, recommendations for intervention for individuals with FASD post-diagnosis (using their knowledge of what works for individuals with FASD across the life span)
  • Describe how colleagues on a multi-disciplinary team undertake diagnostic assessments related to FASD

Course delivery and assessment

This course will run in Semester 2 (January-May). It is delivered entirely online over 10 sessions.

Assessment will be via short answer questions submitted as coursework.

Course Fees 

Students who take this course as CPD 'for credit' will incur a fee of £1,690.

Students who take this course as CPD 'not for credit' will incur a fee of £895.

Applicants who have previously attended the University of Edinburgh may be eligible for a graduate scholarship if taking the course for academic credit. More details can be found here

Entry Requirements


Also available: Europe's first Postgraduate Certificate in FASD

‘The Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) (Online)' is one of the modules in the PgCert in FASD. Taken together with ‘Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Context, Contributors & Clinical Presentation’ and ‘Advanced Practice in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)’, these three modules make up the PgCert and are designed re designed to meet the training needs of health and social care professionals working with individuals who have experience of FASD, those required to diagnose FASD or those providing post-diagnostic care or recommendations.  All courses are designed to work around busy professionals, being part time and online; the PgCert can be spread over 36 months. The PgCert programme is now open - click here to apply

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