Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Context, Contributors & Clinical Presentation (Online)

Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Context, Contributors & Clinical Presentation

Course dates                                                                                Semester 1  
Course credits                                                                              20  
Course delivery                                                                           Online  
Academic co-ordinator                                                            Dr Suzanne O'Rourke  

Course description

This course provides participants with a comprehensive introduction to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and is suitable for postgraduates with a professional or lay interest in the field. The course is a recommended precursor for those professionals intending to undertake the course Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Participants will gain an understanding of:

  • The prevalence and contributory causes of FASD
  • How FASD can affect the individual across the lifespan
  • The Physical and Cognitive differences that contribute to a diagnosis
  • The increased risk of secondary harms including; mental illness, substance misuse, involvement with criminal justice, homelessness.
  • The relationships between FASD and other neurodevelopmental conditions
  • The importance of support for those with FASD

Throughout the course, participants will be asked to critically evaluate and reflect on the topics discussed and to be mindful of the ethical issues surrounding work in this field, particularly the importance of a non-judgemental, trauma-focused, person-centered approach. Taking place over ten weeks, the course will primarily comprise online content and activities that can be completed asynchronously, to accommodate different time zones and those with other commitments, complemented by a small number of webinars.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Describe and explain the key concepts of FASD, including its epidemiology, aetiology, and presentation across children and adults demonstrating a critical understanding of the complexities of FASD conceptualisation and presentation.
  • Exhibit a critical knowledge and understanding of the potential primary and secondary causes of prenatal alcohol exposure and FASD.
  • Critically evaluate the current FASD prevention measures, within the context of individual and societal factors.
  • Evaluate whether communication on the subject of prenatal alcohol exposure and FASD is appropriately person-centered and trauma-informed.
  • Critically reflect on the future directions of FASD prevention, education, and research.

Course delivery and assessment

This course will run in Semester 1 (September - December). It is delivered entirely online over 10 sessions.

Assessment will be via a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions.

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

‘Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Context, Contributors & Clinical Presentation’ can be taken for academic credit as one of the modules in a PgCert in FASD. The other modules are ‘Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)' and ‘Advanced Practice in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)’. Together, the three courses are 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 modules 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

If you require any additional information, please contact us at CPD.FAAST@ed.ac.uk.