Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Conference at the University of Salford - Thursday 12th December 2019


University of Salford Conference on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Thursday 12th December 2019

The UK has one of the highest estimated rates of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the world, but these conditions are commonly misunderstood, under-recognised and under-diagnosed. 

A specialist FASD conference, approved by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, was held at the University of Salford Media City campus in Salford Quays on Thursday 12th December, 2019. Delegates heard from internationally renowned speakers on the history of FASD, diagnosis, issues around drinking in pregnancy, the presentation of FASD, the life experience of FASD, the experience of caring for a young person with FASD, prevalence, complexities with trauma and attachment issues, comorbidity with other disorders, issues around social care, national healthcare guidelines, and behaviour management of children with FASD.

The conference was opened by Dean of Health and Society Professor Margaret Rowe, and the first speaker was MP Bill Esterson, who is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on FASD. Other speakers included researchers, clinicians, a specialist FASD trainer and the chief executive of a national FASD charity. The conference also featured a discussion with a young adult, Robert, with FASD about his own experience of living with the condition. Since Robert is a talented musician, he also treated delegates to a performance of his saxophone playing, which many reported as the highlight of the conference.

The conference was fully sold-out to a range of professionals and families involved in FASD. Delegate feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with over 80% of respondents rating the venue, registration, catering, and management of the conference as very good or excellent, and over 95% rating the content as very good or excellent.


Speaker Presentations

If you have any questions  regarding the conference please do not hesitate to contact



Conference Photos

Some Photographs taken during the conference:

  • Prof. Margaret Rowe - Margaret Rowe opens the conference and welcomes delegates to Salford
  • Bill Esterson MP - Bill Esterson MP, who was unable to attend in person due to the general election, starts us off by framing the importance of work on FASD
  • Dr Kate Fleming - Kate Fleming on the social determinants of alcohol consumption in pregnancy
  • Dr Larry Burd - Larry Burd on his 40 years of experience running the fetal alcohol syndrome centre in North Dakota
  • Prof. Penny Cook - Penny Cook tells us about the prevalence of FASD and risk factors
  • Dr Raja Mukherjee - Raja Mukherjee talking about the subtleties of FASD presentation and his work at the national FASD clinic in Surrey
  • Dr Alan Price - Alan Price describes the latest research on attachment, trauma and FASD  
  • Dr Jennifer Shields - Jen Shields tells us about the Scottish Fetal Alcohol Advisory and Support Team"
  • Joanna Buckard - Jo Buckard on the importance of FASD knowledge in social care
  • Sandra Butcher - Sandra Butcher shares her own experience of raising a child with FASD, and tells us why there is hope after a diagnosis
  • Young adult with FASD - Young adult with FASD, Robert, talks to Sandra about his own experience of living with FASD. Also pictured, Robert's mum. 
  • Robert - Robert, who is a talented musician, reminds us of the strengths possessed by people with FASD

Delegate Feedback

The following quotes are from delegates' feedback:

“I was able to go along with my daughter's SENCO, and she took all the useful information back to the school and head teacher.”

“It was well organised and as a parent it is great that the message that how being exposed to alcohol prenatally affects the brain detrimentally.  Our children are so often overlooked in the wider society.”

“Great presentation, nice venue, interesting speakers, friendly delegates.”

“I would love to attend more of the same and see it advertised outside of Manchester. Thank you all very much this conference has been a great asset to us & his educators.”

“The conference gave a whistle-stop tour of FASD. It highlighted the difficulties of FASD in a non-judgmental way that has sparked more interest and motivation to seek further knowledge and understanding.”

“This will really help us in our work in nurseries and schools with children with FASD diagnosis and also in signposting children with no diagnosis.”

“It gave me an insight into the complex difficulties young people face with this lifelong condition. I feel that the information armed me with the confidence to speak to other members of school staff about identifying children with potential FASD.”

Getting to MediaCity UK

Getting to The Quays and MediaCity UK

The MediaCityUK Campus is at the heart of six global BBC departments and a mass of independent creative, digital and media organisations. It is a short walk to the Lowry theatre and gallery, Imperial War Museum North and the Manchester United football ground. There are many shops, bars, and restaurants nearby.

By Metrolink tram

Metrolink trams are a quick and easy way to reach MediaCityUK and The Quays. The area is served by the dedicated MediaCityUK stop and Harbour City, Broadway and other stops on the Eccles line. You can connect from other Metrolink lines at Cornbrook.

Trams run every 12 minutes between Cornbrook and MediaCityUK stops from 7.15am to 8pm, Monday to Fridays, and 9.30am to 6pm on Saturdays. The Eccles line service also stops at Broadway and Harbour City during these times. Outside these times, the Eccles line trams call at the MediaCityUK stop, during normal tram operating times. When the shuttle is running, this means that there is a 6 minute service between Cornbrook and Harbour City.

By Bus

Bus services provide links to The Quays, either running near The Quays itself or Trafford Park, within easy reach via the new MediaCityUK footbridge across the Manchester Ship Canal. Switching between buses and Metrolink trams is easy in Manchester city centre at Piccadilly Gardens and Shudehill transport interchanges.

It’s easy to connect with buses to The Quays at Salford Shopping Centre and there are other convenient bus and tram interchanges at Bury, Altrincham and Eccles.

By train

If you travel to Manchester city centre by train it’s easy to connect with Metrolink trams at either Piccadilly or Victoria train stations. Both stations have Metrolink stops, so you won’t have to go outdoors when you make the connection.

Many trains also call at Salford Crescent station and it’s easy to connect to The Quays by bus from there.

MediaCity UK Campus

Find out more about our MediaCityUK location by using our interactive campus map or have a look at the University of Salford's MediaCityUk Campus Map and Guide.