Training for parents and caregivers

FASD-CAN Caregiver and Whānau Training

In 2022, FASD-CAN Navigator Anna Gundesen and RuruHana Brownie co-facilitated our first two-day caregiver training sessions in Auckland and Northland, as well as a seven-week online version.

The curriculum is based on that created by Professor Anita Gibbs for NOFASD Australia but redesigned by Anna and RuruHana for a bicultural Aotearoa lens. The course received universally high reviews, and we are rolling it out again in 2023 around the motu.  

Click here to go to our Events page to see if there is a current Caregiver Training workshop near you.

Click here to read an article about our training, with inspiring input from both our participants and facilitators. 

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Otago University

SOCI404: Exploring Neuro-Disability in Health, Welfare and Justice Systems is taught by FASD specialist Professor Anita Gibbs. It was launched in 2022 and has been enthusiastically received.

It's aimed at professionals but caregivers can also do it, particularly if they have already completed some education already. It runs as a 400 level course at the University of Otago, for both distance and on-campus learners. The course can be completed as a stand-alone certificate or alongside other courses at Otago.

For up-to-date info, click here or contact [email protected] 


The University of Western Australia

The University of Western Australia has some FASD courses. The two micro-credentials listed below are run fully online and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

These short introductory courses which would contribute credits towards the Graduate Certificate. 

• FASD short courses (micro-credentials)

The university's new FASD short courses aim to provide students with foundational knowledge required for understanding FASD. They will cover the basic characteristics of FASD and will include lived-experience perspectives on FASD. Although each micro-credential can be accessed independently, it is recommended that students intending to complete both micro-credentials follow the order outlined below. 

There are no entry requirements for these short courses. Students completing both micro-credentials will be eligible to receive course-credit for the first coursework unit in the Graduate Certificate in the Diagnosis and Assessment of FASD developed at UWA by A/Prof Carmela Pestell and Adjunct Prof James Fitzpatrick (note: the Grad Cert does have entry requirements).

The micro-credentials are run fully online, and students have 12 weeks to complete the course at their own pace. The link to the application portal can be found on the course webpages (outlined above). If you have any questions about the courses, please contact tutor Grace Tan.

The link to the application portal can be found on the course webpages (outlined below).

Courses begin in April or July 2024. 

1) History and Basic Characteristics of FASD

This micro-credential will cover the historical and social context of FASD and common comorbidities.

Click here for more information.

2) Considerations for FASD Diagnosis

This micro-credential will outline the relevant ethical issues in FASD assessment and diagnosis and intervention strategies.
Click here for more information. 

3) FASD Supervision

This course is suited to clinicians who have had prior FASD training, and have a current FASD caseload. It will provide students with a background in psychology, speech pathology, social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, medicine and other relevant disciplines with an opportunity to receive group supervision on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) cases. More info here.


• Graduate Certificate in the Diagnosis and Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

The aim of the Graduate Certificate is to provide clinicians with the specialist knowledge and clinical skills required to participate in team-based assessment and diagnosis of FASD. This course is targeted towards clinicians with a background in psychology, speech pathology, social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, medicine and other relevant disciplines.

Further information about the course, as well as a link to the application, can be found on the UWA website here.

Note: registrations close one week prior to start of course.


NOFASD Australia

Our closest partners, NoFASD Australia, launched the Australian Foundations in FASD online training course in 2020. This is an evidence-based interactive online learning resource consisting of 7 modules which take around 20 minutes each. It’s a general introduction to FASD including description of impacts, assessment, interventions and prevention. The course is free.

You can watch the 45-second introduction video here.

There are a number of other free webinars available free on the NOFASD website here, including ones on supporting your child to learn and child to parent violence, as well resources for occupational therapists and educators.


Explained by Brain Online Training for Parents and Carers 2022

Dr Vanessa Spiller is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience, who works out of Brisbane, Australia and has been a valuable source of information and presentations for FASD-CAN in NZ. Her 'Explained by Brain' training has helped many parents of tamariki with FASD. 

Her specialised training has streams of content - those focused on FASD facts, the Explained by Brain approach and the brain domains impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure (13 modules), those focused on managing complex behavioural symptoms such as aggression, confabulation, sexualised behaviours etc (12 modules) and those that focus on the needs of parents and carers e.g. self-care and how to advocate for your child (10 modules). Modules include videos, readings, resource downloads, personal reflections, quizzes to check your learning and links to useful external resources such as podcasts and additional videos on specific topics.

Go to the Explained by Brain website


The FASD Collaborative Project

This is an international FASD learning project which was instigated in late 2020. The FASD United Affiliate Network in the United States identified a need to increase effective supports and evidence-based training at a national level, and FASD organisations from around the globe answered the call. They joined forces to create more dynamic FASD systems of care internationally and to date there are 30 organisations who participated in the 2021-2022 series of webinars, which ran online throughout 2022. Click here to go to the website.

The Project will be releasing a new round of webinars for 2024 soon.

Click here for a list of FREE post-webinar recordings you can access online – and don't forget to sign up to their mailing list for information on what will be coming up in future!