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New Certificate Program in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Three-Course Series Offered Online

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UMD’s Continuing Education (CE) now offers a certificate program in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). This new program is a three-course series and is offered online. The series is designed to be completed in one year. It may be taken as an undergraduate certificate or as a graduate certificate. This certification is the only program of its kind in Minnesota, and because it is offered online, it is easily accessible to anyone across the nation.

Trudie Hughes, associate professor, College of Education and Human Service Professions, coordinates UMD's FASD certificate program. "The program is mainly geared for teachers who need training in working with children and young people with FASD," she said. Hughes also points out that this program is valuable for service providers and professionals such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists who want to expand their knowledge and expertise in the area of FASD.

The program stresses methodologies. "Students will gain strategies for teaching children with FASD. They will learn to identify a child's strengths and key into their abilities," Hughes stated. There will be opportunities for certificate program students to work in a classroom setting to put what they have learned into practice. They will also be able to communicate online with other students taking the program. "They can share what they tried in class and how it worked for them," Hughes said.

Hughes said that the program is led by three instructors who bring "extensive experience and knowledge." They are Doreen A. Matteson, Jolene K Hyppa Martin, and Joanne Langdon. The courses have also been developed with input from an advisory board which consists of parents and professionals to ensure a wide range of expertise. Instructors maintain office hours for students who wish to contact them with questions or concerns.

FASD is caused when a mother consumes alcohol during her pregnancy. According to the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, an estimated 8,500 babies are born each year in Minnesota with brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD can also result in physical deformities, developmental delays, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities that can last a lifetime. Hughes pointed out that FASD reaches across all ethnicities and socio-economic classes. "FASD doesn't discriminate," Hughes said. It is also 100% preventable if women do not drink alcohol during pregnancy.

In addition to the FASD certificate program offered online, CE offers a certificate program in Autism Spectrum Disorders online. CE also offers certificate programs in American Sign Language (ASL); Educational Computing and Technology; Environmental Education; General Business Administration; Geographic Information Science; Human Services; and Liberal Arts.

Information about UMD's certificate programs is available on the Continuing Education website at You may also contact Suzan Gonia, program associate for UMD’s CE, at 218-726-8149 or via email at

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann,

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Last modified on 04/22/11 02:36 PM
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