CanFASD response to the 2020 publication Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: A Training Workbook by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
It has come to our attention that many organizations are questioning if they should use this workbook in Canada as this project was funded by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This training manual was developed for countries (mostly in South America) in the developmental stages of their FASD knowledge and service delivery that do not have specific FASD diagnostic guidelines. CanFASD commends the authors for taking this step to assist these countries and for making the document available in Spanish as well.
Canada has had an evidence-based FASD diagnostic guideline since 2005. This guideline, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: a guideline for diagnosis across the lifespan, was updated in 2015 to reflect new research in the field. The majority of FASD diagnostic clinics in Canada are using this guideline and we recommend that they continue to do so.
The WHO is an excellent source for evidence-based information about world-wide health issues. However, when we want information specific to the Canadian context, we turn to Canadian sources. In this case, CanFASD believes that the 2015 guideline provides a more nuanced understanding of the FASD assessment and diagnostic process in the Canadian context than is available in this new PAHO training resource. We recommend that organizations in Canada continue to refer to the 2015 Canadian diagnostic guideline for FASD diagnosis and assessment.
CanFASD also offers an online training course based on the guidelines to assist professionals in learning the processes, procedures, and in developing the skillset needed to be effective members of a multidisciplinary diagnostic team. You can find the Multidisciplinary Team Training for Diagnosis of FASD: An online curriculum on our website.