Applications are now open for the 2021 intake of the Graduate Certificate in the Diagnosis and Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) run through the University of Western Australia (UWA). This year the online program will be offered nationally and internationally to clinicians with a background in psychology, speech pathology, social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, medicine and other relevant disciplines. The aim of the course is to provide students with the specialist knowledge and clinical skills required to participate in team-based assessment and diagnosis of FASD. You can find information about the course, as well as a link to the application, on the UWA website here.
Elizabeth is a speech pathologist who recently graduated from this course. Here’s what she had to say:
Why did you decide to do this course?
I recently moved to Broome Western Australia and found that I had no previous training on FASD despite its estimated prevalence nationally. The opportunity to complete the Graduate Certificate in the Diagnosis and Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder(FASD) was an opportunity to fully understand the condition, presentations, assessment, and intervention process guided by the evidence base.
Tell us about your experience, what did you enjoy most or find most valuable?
The online lectures were engaging and flexibly accessible to me , particularly since I live in the Kimberley and working full-time. I really valued the time where we collaborated in group discussions. I believe that just from the discussions I have a wider and deeper knowledge base on the holistic viewpoints which we all must take in diagnostics. Hearing from some leading professionals in the field from across the world and individuals with FASD helped us, as Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists and Nurses, to face the practical issue of FASD. It was in this time of learning we were able to discuss the important questions relating to the assessment, diagnosis and intervention of FASD.
How will this benefit you in your professional career?
This is invaluable to me as a young professional. I have had so many informed conversations with teachers, professionals and carers seeking understanding of what FASD is and how we help. As a NDIS provider, I now have an understanding and evidence to provide quality service to respond and share concerning FASD. I have benefited from knowing the strict criteria of differential diagnosis and referral pathways to holistically benefit the participates and those working with them. I hope that this will lead to empowering people to realise that they may have access to supportive services to help them figure out how their brain works rather than expecting them to cope with these ‘behaviours’ and barriers to living an independent life.
Do you think it’s important for more health professionals to undergo training in this area?
I would recommend that training is provided to every professional working with those impacted by FASD. FASD is a ‘hidden’ disorder and it would benefit those living impacted by FASD to understand that it is ‘a problem someone might have and that the person is not a problem themselves’. If anything I’ve learnt that it will take every person working together to facilitate the prevention, identification and support of individuals effected by FASD.
Would you recommend this course to others and if so why?
Yes, I would recommend this course to anyone willing and able to learn more about FASD. This course supported my work in the Kimberley to both understand the process of assessment and the means to which perceive and support the individual’s intervention and story.
Thank you to Elizabeth for sharing your experiences of this course, and thank you to all the professionals who complete FASD training and provide the diagnosis and support which is essential to help individuals and families living with FASD to thrive.
View the UWA Graduate Certificate in the Diagnosis and Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder flyer here.
Read more NOFASD Australia blogs