Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder


Event type Conference

The Alex Hotel, 41-47 Fenian St, Dublin, D02 H678

Our conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders aims to raise awareness and understanding of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and provide an overview of how individuals and families affected by FASD can be supported.

Key takeaways

  • To raise awareness of the prevalence, key features and outcomes of individuals affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
  • To understand the key components of an FASD assessment, including taking alcohol history and developing a profile of strengths and difficulties
  • To gain an overview of what interventions and approaches can benefit individuals and families affected by FASD
  • To understand more about the lived experience from those affected by FASD
  • To be able to consider wider implications from prevention to intervention: a whole system approach to responding to FASD

Listen to our FASD podcast with Dr. Jennifer Shields and Dr. Sarah Brown.


Dr. Jennifer Shields
Dr. Jennifer Shields

Principal Clinical Psychologist for the Scottish Government Fetal Alcohol Advisory and Support Team (FAAST) based in NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Principal Educator for Autism (NHS Education Scotland).

Following two years working for the West Dunbartonshire Acquired Brain Injury Service, Dr. Shields completed her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Glasgow. Alongside her clinical post within the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service in North Ayrshire, she also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Paediatric Clinical Neuropsychology at University College London. Dr. Shields has a longstanding interest in neurodevelopmental conditions and acquired brain injury. She was a member of the working group for the SIGN Guideline for Autism (145) and is currently a member of the working group for the SIGN Guideline for FASD.

Dr. Sarah Brown

Dr. Sarah Brown

Consultant Paediatrician, Rainbow House Child Development Centre, NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Dr Brown has longstanding interests in advocating for the needs of Looked After and Accommodated Children and is the Lead Paediatrician for LAAC Health within Ayrshire. Dr Brown is the Lead Clinician for the Scottish Government Fetal Alcohol Advisory and Support Team and is committed to supporting the nationwide development of FASD services and improving clinician confidence in the diagnosis of FASD. She regularly teaches and presents at conferences on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and is a member of the FASD SIGN Guideline Group.

Prof. Moira Plant

Prof. Moira Plant

Emeritus Professor of Alcohol Studies at the University of West of England in Bristol UK and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University Perth Australia

Moira’s main interests include women, alcohol and mental health, drinking in pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. She has published on these and related subjects in peer reviewed journals and books. Moira is the UK lead on the Gender Alcohol and Culture: An International Project (GENACIS) which includes over 40 countries worldwide. She has acted as consultant to the World Health Organisation, the UK and other governments, the Centre for Addiction Research & Education Scotland (CARES) and is a UK consultant to the US Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD). Moira is a psychotherapist and trains and supervises counsellors.

Róisín Reynolds

Róisín has worked in the drug and alcohol field since the early 90s in both clinical and managerial roles. During this time she also worked as a reviewer for the Health Care Commission and has delivered the RCGP Part 1 and 2 – Working with Drug Users in primary care in venues across the North West. Róisín has also facilitated workshops at several national conferences. Her current role as Senior Advisor for Alcohol Exposed Pregnancies at the Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership, is to lead on an initial 2 year ‘proof of concept’ programme to reduce alcohol exposed pregnancies and progress towards and ambition of ending new cases of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Rachael Nielsen
Rachael Nielsen

Project Manager for the Greater Manchester Alcohol Exposed Pregnancies Programme

This ‘proof of concept’ programme aims to reduce alcohol exposed pregnancies with the ambition to eliminate new cases of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Before joining Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Rachael worked in NHS drug and alcohol treatment services for 19 years in both practitioner and managerial roles. During that time Rachael led both clinical and children and families services. Rachael is committed to the hidden harm agenda and throughout her career has strived to implement and improve practices to reduce drug and alcohol related harm.

Cynthia Silva

Cynthia SilvaSenior Educational Psychologist, retired from  HSE,  an Early Intervention Disability Team, in County, Mayo. 

An experienced facilitator for the past 30 years in the areas of FASD,  Intellectual Disabilities, Specific Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Sexuality, Cooperative Discipline and Behaviour Management. Associate Lecturer in NUIG Doctoral Program in Psychology in areas of Disability, FASD, Assessment, and Sexuality.

Dr. Mary T O’Mahony
Dr. Mary T O’Mahony

MB, MPH, FFPHMI, DCH, Specialist in Public Health Medicine and former Director of Public Health for HSE – South

Mary qualified as a medical doctor from University College Cork in 1982. She is registry leader for EUROCAT Registry 49 covering birth defects in children born to mothers’ resident in counties Cork and Kerry. She provides public health input to the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre Governance Committee; and to the HSE’s Disability Service Transformation Working Group 1 for health service improvement.   She has an on call commitment for infectious disease prevention and control. The surveillance of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome has been proposed at EUROCAT Registry Leader meetings in the past. Mary is the national clinical lead for the prevention of FASD working with the HSE Alcohol Priority Programme.

Dr. Barry Coughlan 

Barry is Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programme at the University of Limerick, Ireland.  Barry qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2003 and has worked in a number of health services across the Mid-West region of Ireland, most recently in adult disability services.  He has a special interest in the emotional wellbeing and mental health of young people and adults with developmental disability and complex need. Barry holds an honours degree in Applied Psychology from University College Cork, a PhD from University College Cork and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, from University College Dublin, and has supervised over 60 PhD’s to completion, covering a wide range of applied clinical topics. He has a particular interest in continued professional development for multi-disciplinary staff specifically in the area of FASD, and in 2015 secured funding from the Irish Research Council to host an international conference entitled: FASD – Interdisciplinary Understanding. Barry also provides ongoing training to Tusla and the HSE on this topic.