This list has been compiled in good faith by the Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association. Any errors or omissions are accidental. Feedback is welcome. Please contact Anne at elizabeth [at] rffada [dot] org
- FASD Education Project, Fiona Flynn, Moruya / Narooma Community Health Centres, NSW Health
- Inquiry into Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder by the house standing committee for social policy and legal affairs
- Collaboration by the rffada with registered training organisation Training Connections Australia for the professional delivery of the FASD units developed by the rffada
- Anyinginyi FASD Project
- Prevalence of FAS in Western Australia
- Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Program
- No safe amount — the effects of alcohol in pregnancy campaign
- Interdisciplinary research on the professional knowledge, attitudes and practices of FASD in the criminal justice system in WA 2011-2012
- National indigenous Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) resource project
- Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder action group
- Evaluation of information and resources for parents and carers of children with a FASD 2011-2012
- Alcohol use during pregnancy — formative intervention research study
- Interventions to reduce alcohol use during pregnancy: systematic literature review
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) knowledge and referral pathways in early childhood settings
- Professor Emma Whitelaw recognised at international meeting
- Perinatal national minimal data set relating to alcohol use in pregnancy
- Wurli-wurlinjang health service
- Telethon Institute alcohol and pregnancy resources for health professionals
- First FASD conference in Tasmania – den
- FASD resource for midwives drug and alcohol services SA
- Cherbourg Community Health Service
- Apunipima FASD education project
- Den prenatal exposure to alcohol resource
- FASD scientific network
- FASD is now in the Western Australian “Equality Before the Law” bench book
- Western Australia — Model of Care
- Australian FASD collaboration
- Lililwan project
- Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association (rffada)
- Nofasard (national organisation for fas and related disorders)
- The Fitzgerald report into Cape York justice
- Apunipima Cape York health council
- Cape York aboriginal communities paediatric outreach program
- Department of Health and Community services Northern Territory
- The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit
- The Australian Medical Association and Alcohol Labelling
- Foundation for alcohol rehabilitation and education
- National FAS workshop
- House of representatives inquiry
- South Australian FAS task force
- The aboriginal drug and alcohol council (SA)
- The Walpole Study
- The Victorian Department of Human Services and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Koori communities
- Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in a remote region of australia — study undertaken by KR Harris and IK Bucens
- Additional Research
FASD Education Project
Fiona Flynn, Moruya / Narooma Community Health Centres, NSW Health
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Inquiry into Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder by the House Standing Committee for Social Policy and Legal Affairs
On 8 November 2011 the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, The Hon Jenny Macklin MP and the Minister for Health and Ageing, The Hon Nicola Roxon MP asked the Committee to inquire into and report on the incidence and prevention of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
The Committee requests interested persons and organisations to make a submission that addresses the terms of reference by 9 December 2011. Late submissions will be accepted, please contact the secretariat on 02 6277 2358 to arrange an extension. Please refer to our brochure called preparing a submission for more information.
Inquiries from hearing and speech impaired people should be directed to Parliament House TTY number 02 6277 7799. Adobe also provides tools at access.adobe.com/ for the blind and visually impaired to access PDF documents. If you require any special arrangements to enable you to participate in the Committee’s inquiry, please contact the Committee Secretariat
In order to facilitate electronic publishing of submissions, the Committee would prefer to receive submissions in Microsoft Word® or Portable Document Format (PDF). Submissions can be emailed to spla [dot] reps [at] aph [dot] gov.au. The email must include full postal address and contact details. Written submissions can also be sent to the postal address.
Collaboration by the rffada with registered training organisation Training Connections Australia for the professional delivery of the FASD units developed by the rffada
The rffada’s FASD Training is conducted in partnership with an Australia-wide Registered Training Organisation, Enterprise Management Group trading as Training Connections Australia (TCA). The training developed by the rffada and delivered by TCA was the first publicly available training delivered in Australia by professional and qualified trainers. This training can be customised and contextualised to the needs of the organisation or group and can be incorporated into policies and procedures to maximise return on investment
Anyinginyi FASD Project
Anyinginyi’s FASD Project began in September/October, 2011. From the outset, the Project has strived to build partnerships and links with existing programmes and services in the Barkly region. With that goal in mind, we have decided to put out a little newsletter/update every couple of months to keep our partners and stakeholders informed about our progress and resources.
The Project is well underway, with Co-ordinator, Adele Gibson, and Project Officer, Leonie Williams, working to develop resources. So far, we have a growing collection of books, DVDs, comics, models, manikins, brochures and posters on the theme of healthy pregnancy, FASD and related issues. These are available to all stakeholders, so feel free to pop into the Public Health Unit and browse.
We are also accummulating a range of current professional resources, from US, Canadian andUKresearch. These are available in either paper form or online links.
The FASD Project has been involved in the Core of Life training and workshops with local young women, as well as regular involvement with the Young Women’s Group. Project staff are available to do presentations to groups as well as accepting individual referrals.
We have put together a Pregnancy Pamper Pack, to be distributed to pregnant women in the region, as a way of providing information, instigating discussion between health professionals and their clients about substance use, and obtaining feedback for the Project.
Guest speaker, Dr Raewyn Mutch, sparked a great deal of interest when she spoke to various groups about FASD here before Christmas, and we are planning more visits from experts in the field, so watch this space!
We put in a submission to the Federal government’s inquiry into FASD, and are awaiting news about its publication and subsequent public hearings. It will be very interesting to see what comes out of this inquiry in terms of acknowledging FASD nationally and hopefully standardising diagnostic tools.
The Project staff are working on presentations to various national and international conferences, with a view to represent Barkly region’s issues and solutions in the area of FASD.
Project Officer, Leonie Williams, is developing her skills in using exciting new animation software, “Marvin”, and plans to have some fun with it in the community.
In the first half of 2012, the FASD Project is planning two events, aimed primarily at young people. The first involves a visit from two talented Hip Hop artists on the 15th and 16thof February, who will run workshops to write a song/songs on the theme of FASD prevention, which will then be professionally recorded and produced.
The second event will be in late April (date to be confirmed) and will involve a visit from a film/video-maker who will also be running workshops for local youth, and involving local talent.
A third event, later in the year, is hoped to involve the broader community in a fun way…more on that one down the track!
Feedback and suggestions are always welcome! Please contact Adele or Leonie at Anyinginyi Public Health Unit…
Ph: (08) 8962 2615 Fax: (08) 8962 1972 Mob: 0439 728 778 Email: adele [dot] gibson [at] anyinginyi [dot] com.au or leonie [dot] williams [at] anyinginyi [dot] com.au
Prevalence of FAS in Western Australia
This study will use un-named information on all cases of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) notified to the Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies (WARDA), born in WA from 1980 to November 2010. Birth prevalence per 1000 births will be calculated by year of birth to examine trends over time. Prevalence ratios will be used to describe the demographic and clinical characteristics, such as maternal age, socio-economic status and place of residence, and age of the child when FAS was diagnosed. The project will be conducted at the Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies (WARDA) and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. This project is funded by NHMRC Program Grant (#572742).
Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Program
The Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders program was launched in 2009 in response to the incidence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy by women in the Kimberley. This program specifically targets the population of Kununurra and has been funded by local Aboriginal people through the Miriuwung Gajerrong Ord Enhancement Scheme. It is delivered through the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service (OVAHS), an Aboriginal community controlled primary health care facility.
The program delivers culturally appropriate foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) education, alcohol and other drug screening and individual counselling to antenatal clients. Initiatives are also directed at partners and family of clients, and the community as a whole. Resources including posters, pamphlets, a DVD and radio advertisements have been developed in consultation with the local Aboriginal population and aim to increase awareness and knowledge of FASD. Other key features of the program include training OVAHS staff (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) in alcohol awareness, FASD and contraception, and delivering health promotion outreach at community events and local centres.
Abstract adapted from Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service
No safe amount — the effects of alcohol in pregnancy campaign
The No safe amount – the effects of alcohol in pregnancy campaign was created by the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjata (NPY) Women’s Council Aboriginal Corporation. The program is an early intervention and prevention campaign designed to raise awareness of the deleterious and permanent effects of using alcohol during pregnancy. This message is achieved through an education and advertising campaign, and a DVD resource that uses a combination of multimedia including animation and live action.
The campaign was developed in partnership with young people in the remote Aboriginal Community of Imanpa, including script development, pre and post production, and casting. The stories contained within the DVD have been role played by local community members who were actively engaged in the process. In 2010, the commercials produced as part of the campaign were aired on Imparja Television. The three 30 second broadcast quality commercials are in both Pitjantjatjara (the local language) and English, and comprise of:
- Ititjara (pregnancy)
- The growing brain
- Responsible fathers
The campaign won the Outstanding Achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Award at the Deadly Awards in 2011.
Abstract adapted from Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjata (NPY) Women’s Council Aboriginal Corporation
Interdisciplinary research on the professional knowledge, attitudes and practices of FASD in the criminal justice system in WA 2011-2012
Affected children and adolescents within the justice sector may exhibit problems with learning, poor memory, difficulty self-managing their behaviour, poor co-ordination and difficulty communicating. These problems may not be recognised or understood as symptoms associated with a disorder within the fetal alcohol spectrum1-5.
The challenges within the justice sector for clients with a FASD were outlined by Associate Professor Heather Douglas, School of Law, University of Queensland, in her presentation to the Sentencing 2010 Conference, National Judicial College of Australia, Australian National University6:
“It may be appropriate, considering the apparent under-diagnosis of FASD, to require sentencing report writers to address the possibility of FASD in preparation of their reports in circumstances where there has been a history of breaches of court orders or where there are other matters that suggest the possibility of FASD (for example impulsive offending or known history of maternal drinking). While more resources directed towards therapy are needed, the first step is awareness.”
The researchers are from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. This project is funded by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (formerly Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation AERF). The project commenced in June 2011 and will be completed in March 2012.
National Indigenous foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) resource project
This two year project will work closely with a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander FASD Prevention Reference Group, the Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office, and key stakeholders throughout Australia. It aims to develop templates that can be used in the production of culturally secure and appropriate resources to assist health professionals in Aboriginal and Torres Strait health care settings across Australia to address the issues of alcohol and pregnancy and Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Culturally secure and appropriate resources about alcohol and pregnancy developed from the templates will assist health professionals in increasing their own and their clients’ understanding of the risks of drinking alcohol, drinking alcohol whilst pregnant, and breastfeeding. In turn, it is hoped this will encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy, or where this is not possible, to reduce their alcohol consumption.
National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) abstract
Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder action group
Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), including Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is the greatest cause of non-genetic permanent intellectual and physical disability in newborns in Australia. Members and Senators of the Parliament have formed a new group with the aim of eliminating FASD from Australia. The group aims to ensure that in the future there are warnings on alcohol product labelling, and are committed to acknowledging the issues associated with FASD, including:
- the need for a national diagnostic tool for the condition. This tool is currently under development
- the need for better education for practising medical professionals, service providers and particularly police and those who work in the judiciary
- the need to assist and support pregnant women who have alcohol dependency
- the need to give FAS and FASD the status of recognised disabilities in Australia to facilitate better funding for the delivery of services
- the need to help families who are dealing with the victims of FASD.
Abstract adapted from Parliament of Australia
Evaluation of information and resources for parents and carers of children with a FASD 2011-2012
The project will identify information sources available to parents and carers of children with a FASD. The project will assess the quality of this information and will develop additional parent/carer resources if a gap in information is identified. The research team will test the hypothesis that while general information about the FASD’s is useful to carers, parents and carers place a higher value on specific information regarding the individual child’s strengths and difficulties, which is gained from multi-disciplinary diagnostic assessment.
Alcohol use during pregnancy – Formative Intervention Research Study
Exposure to alcohol during the prenatal period remains the leading cause of preventable birth defects and developmental problems in Australia and as such has generated increase attention from policy, research and health practitioners. A large proportion of women reduce or stop alcohol use when they find out that they are pregnant, however, there is a proportion of women who continue to drink in moderation, and an additional group who continue to drink to risky levels while pregnant. The Alcohol Use During Pregnancy – Formative Intervention Research Study is an explorative, descriptive study using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The study is designed to assess factors that contribute to alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and to identify potential intervention strategies to reduce alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The study targets pregnant women who attend public hospitals in Perth, Western Australia, and who are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy. Participants have identified themselves as current alcohol drinkers, 18 years of age or older, and who have English as their primary language
Interventions to reduce alcohol use during pregnancy: Systematic literature review
- Dr Nyanda McBride, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
- Dr Jennifer Dodd, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
This project is part of the formative intervention research undertaken at NDRI to identify, develop and assess evidence-based interventions to reduce alcohol use in pregnancy. This project will systematically review the current literature available on interventions to reduce alcohol use during preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Initially a review of random control trials will be undertaken. This will be followed by assessment of secondary level research trials and reviews. Each study and review will be assessed by two independent researchers using a data extraction and assessment process developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO: 2003).
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) knowledge and referral pathways in early childhood settings
- Dr Kate Frances, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
- Professor Sherry Saggers, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
- Dr Nyanda McBride, National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology
- Dr Anne Mahony, Population Health – WA Country Health Service-Goldfields, WA Department of Health
- Ms Lorian Hayes, Indigenous Health Unit, Faculty of Health, University of Queensland
It is expected that this project will build on existing FASD research in Western Australia by exploring what is known and done about FASD in early learning and care settings, specifically to:
- Explore knowledge of FASD in early learning and care settings in Western Australia;
- Explore awareness of referral pathways (both formal and informal) for children with suspected FASD in those settings; and
- Identify use of services and incidence of referrals for children with suspected FASD in those settings.
Professor Emma Whitelaw recognised at international meeting
QIMR’s Professor Emma Whitelaw, has been awarded The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) Jubilee Medal at a scientific meeting in Miami, US last week. The Jubilee Medal honours exceptionally successful scientists in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. The medal for awarded for Professor Whitelaw’s world leading research on the inheritance of epigenetic marks. Epigenetics is the study of mechanisms which modify DNA structure in subtle ways, and thus change gene expression, without influencing the DNA base sequence. Her laboratory at QIMR has developed a model of fetal alcohol syndrome which is helping inform the community of the effects of maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. “It is a great pleasure to stand up, as an Australian, to receive an award like this at an international meeting. It reaffirms to all present Australia’s level of excellence in scientific pursuits,” said Professor Whitelaw, Australian Fellow, Chair of QIMR’s Genetics and Population Health Division and Head of its Epigenetics Laboratory. “To be recognised among the world’s best, is an enormous and well deserved honour for Professor Whitelaw and for QIMR,” said QIMR’s Director Professor Frank Gannon. “It is wonderful acknowledgement of the calibre of our researchers who are contributing to better health for all.” Professor Whitelaw attributes her success to an excellent publicly-funded education system. “State schools in Canberra during the 1960s were excellent. We did real experiments in the labs and were encouraged to speak out and question authority. I hope that winning this award will encourage younger Australian scientists to persevere in what is a challenging yet highly rewarding pursuit.” Emma Whitelaw is a strong advocate of QIMR’s Education program which aims to inspire the scientists of tomorrow and encourage more students to embark on science careers. Through immersion in real medical research, the program gives students the opportunity to experience the importance and wonders of medical research first-hand.
Perinatal National Minimal Data Set relating to alcohol use in pregnancy
In August 2008 there was a national Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Workshop in Adelaide presented by the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy FASD Working Group; the Department of Health and Ageing; and the Drug and Alcohol Service, South Australia. A goal of the workshop was to identify potential future directions and strategies for responding to alcohol use in pregnancy. One of the outcomes of this meeting was the formation of a collaboration to consider the feasibility of a prospective birth cohort study, research specifically aimed to address the lack of evidence about fetal effects related to the dose, pattern and timing of alcohol exposure. This was seen as particularly problematic for low and moderate exposures, levels often consumed by women before recognising they were pregnant.
Wurli-Wurlinjang Health Service
The Health Service is working with young girls and elders to educate them about foetal alcohol syndrome — educating them before they become pregnant in a preventative measure.
The service also educates men about supporting their partners to not drink during a pregnancy.
Telethon Institute Alcohol and Pregnancy Resources for Health Professionals
The Alcohol and Pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: a Resource for Health Professionals booklet is the first revision of the Alcohol and Pregnancy: Health Professionals Making a Difference (2007) booklet which was developed through the adaptation of Best Start. Participant Handbook: Supporting Change, Preventing and Addressing Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. Ontario: Best Start Resource Centre; 2005.
First FASD Conference in Tasmania — DEN
In June 2007, the DEN hosted the 1st National Conference on FASD in Launceston, Tasmania. It was a great success and was well received by delegates.
FASD Resource for Midwives Drug and Alcohol Services SA
Brief Intervention has been demonstrated to be a low-cost, effective alternative to treat alcohol problems. It uses short, self-help and preventive strategies to assist in reducing/ceasing alcohol consumption. The FASD Resource for Midwives Drug and Alcohol Services describes how best to support someone who is unable to stop drinking alcohol. The most important factor is the midwife’s ability to be non-judgmental, approachable, accessible, empathic and helpful
Cherbourg Community Health Service
Apunipima FASD education project
The Chronic Disease Program run by Apunipima is funded by Queensland Health and focuses on nutrition, exercise and diet. The team consists of a nutritionist, a nutrition health worker, a healthy lifestyle coordinator and two women’s health workers. The team provides a range of health promotion programs and initiatives to the communities directly, by visiting the communities and providing programs. The Women’s Health Workers provide a range of women’s health promotion and education, specifically focusing on cervical cancer screening. They also provide health promotion complementing the maternal and child health program in areas such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
DEN Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Resource
The Drug Education Network in Tasmania has also produced the Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Prevention Hand Book and distributes it free on request.
FASD Scientific Network
Researchers and Scientists from the University of Queensland have formed the FASD Scientific Network which meets regularly at the University.
The network don’t have a website as such – University of Queensland
FASD is now in the Western Australian “Equality before the Law” Bench Book
Disability affects one third of the Western Australian population.1 According to the most recent data available, from 2003, more than one in five Western Australians have a disability, more than one in ten Western Australians are carers for people with disabilities, and more than one in every three of those carers themselves have a disability.
Western Australia — Model of Care
This Model of Care prioritises the use of prevention strategies to reduce the prevalence of FASD, recognising there is no cure for this avoidable condition. Prevention requires a holistic approach. When addressing the issues of alcohol and women’s health or pregnancy, health professionals and policy makers should also consider other health, psychosocial, cultural, regulatory and economic factors.
Australian FASD Collaboration
The Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Collaboration is a group of experienced health professionals, researchers, parents and carers, consumer advocates, policy makers and public health personnel. They are dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and management of children, adolescents and adults with a Fetal Alcohol Disorder in Australia. Scope: Conduct a systematic literature review; evaluate the evidence base; Use the Delphi technique to establish consensus on what should be included in screening and diagnostic instrument; hold workshops with women in the community; develop the screening and diagnostic instruments; produce a written report.
Funding of $1million has been made available through DoHA and FaHCSIA. Volunteer Coordinator supported by Nindilingarri.
Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association (rffada)
The Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association (rffada) was established in 2007 after the founder Elizabeth Russell saw a need for services to parents and carers of children and adolescents with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) as well as a support organisation for the peak body National organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders (NOFASARD). A partnership was established in early 2010 with Training Connections Australia to develop and deliver FASD training to all audiences around Australia.
NOFASARD (National Organisation for FAS and Related Disorders)
In 1998 a small committed group of South Australians initiated the formation of a support group, National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders (NOFASARD), which is now incorporated. A branch of NOFASARD was established in Queensland late in 2001. NOFASARD is Australia’s first FASD support group for parents, carers and other interested people. They currently provide telephone and e-mail support to people from all over Australia.
The Fitzgerald Report into Cape York Justice
The Premier commissioned the Cape York Justice Study in July 2001. It was a whole-of-government project headed by former Justice Tony Fitzgerald and involved staff from various government departments as well as academics and specialist researchers.
Apunipima Cape York Health Council
Apunipima Cape York Health Council is currently implementing a health literacy program that addresses Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Cape York. This program is being implemented in Kowanyama and Wujal Wujal communities. Queensland Health has funded two positions to support Apunipima in their efforts to address FASD in the discrete communities of Cape York.
Cape York Aboriginal Communities Paediatric Outreach Program
This program involves the diagnosis and management of babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Aboriginal Communities in Cape York, Far North Queensland. 2.3% of children assessed in the program have been diagnosed with FAS.41
Department of Health and Community Services Northern Territory
Northern Territory Community Services has developed a FAS initiative program. This initiative largely relates to indigenous communities, as the focus of concern has been most clearly articulated by indigenous people and indigenous health professionals.
The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit
In 2001 the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit commenced a study to determine the incidence of FAS. The general aim of their study is to determine the incidence of FAS as diagnosed by paediatricians in Australia; epidemiology; alcohol and other drug exposures during pregnancy; and use of health services. They are hoping this will increase clinician’s awareness of FAS by providing information on clinical features and diagnostic criteria.
The Australian Medical Association and alcohol labelling
In view of compelling international evidence that mothers who drink even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy could unwittingly harm their unborn children, the AMA has written to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) urging it to revise its guidelines on alcohol consumption by mothers during pregnancy.
Foundation for Alcohol Rehabilitation and Education
There is a need to increase awareness of the National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (the NHMRC Guidelines). The NHMRC guidelines recommend that for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.
To do this, we support the implementation of public education campaigns and mandatory alcohol product labelling, including health warning labels and consumer information.
We acknowledge the need to improve the level of knowledge among medical practitioners in identifying FASD and providing appropriate referral pathways for people with a FASD and women deemed to be at high risk of giving birth to a child with a FASD. Work currently underway to develop nationally recognised clinical guidelines will mean that more medical practitioners can receive appropriate training in the diagnosis and treatment of FASD.
We are supporting this process through the provision of funds to set up the first Australian diagnostic clinic at the Children’s Hospital Westmead. The clinic will trial the new clinical guidelines and train medical practitioners in the provision of diagnostic services.
We also support the formal recognition of FASD as a disability and believe that FASD should be identified as an issue that affects the whole community. We are working with the newly formed bipartisan parliamentary group on FASD to determine ways to raise awareness of FASD and improve access to appropriate services for people with FASD, and their parents and carers.
3National FAS Workshop
The last two years has seen an increase in interest in FAS at a national level with the Australian National Council of Drugs (ANCD) joining with the National Expert Advisory Committee on Alcohol (NEACA) to develop a test paper that will hopefully address issues relating to FASD. They held a National FAS Workshop in May 2002 with about thirty invited delegates from all over Australia.
House of Representatives Inquiry
In 2002, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs held an inquiry into “The Social and Economic Cost of Substance Abuse in Australian Communities.”
South Australian FAS Task Force
In 2002, the Department of Human Services in South Australia set up a FAS Task Force. While the Task Force’s Terms of Reference focussed mainly on appropriate health promotion approaches to alcohol and pregnancy, it also acknowledged the need to identify children as early as possible who may be affected by alcohol exposure before birth. They recommended that a further Task Force be implemented to look at early identification of children with FASD, including diagnosis, accessibility to services and resources for the initial support in diagnosis and management of this disability.
The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA)
In 1997, the South Australian Drug and Alcohol Council developed a FAS training package for aboriginal health workers. They have also developed “Drugs in Pregnancy” pamphlets and posters that address the issue of alcohol in pregnancy. They participated in the South Australian FAS Task Force and the National FAS Workshop and they are currently working on the development of an educational resource on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder for use in indigenous communities.
The Walpole Study
Dr. Ian Walpole, a Consultant Geneticist in Western Australia, has undertaken one of the very few Australian studies about the effects of alcohol in pregnancy. Walpole’s study has been cited by many Australian health professionals, policy makers and other professionals as indicating that there is no reason to alarm women or to be concerned about moderate drinking during pregnancy. This has been refuted by a number of overseas researchers.
No Internet document available
The Victorian Department of Human Services and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Koori Communities
The Department of Human Services is providing $100,000 through the Koori Alcohol and Drug Plan 2003-2004 to conduct further research into Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and also to provide recommendations on how to raise awareness of the condition in Koori Communities.
Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in a Remote Region of Australia – Study undertaken by KR Harris and IK Bucens
Rebecca Hancock, MSc Candidate Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Toronto undertook a review of the retrospective study by KR Harris and IK Bucens. The study was undertaken by researching medical records and outpatient letters of children seen by the Royal Darwin Hospital Paediatric staff between 1990 and 2000. The live birth rate was estimated using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The minimum rates were first calculated using only cases of full Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The overall rate from this calculation was 0.68/1000 live births. The rate in the indigenous population was 1.87/1000 live births. When the full spectrum of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD) including microcephaly was incorporated, the overall rate reached 1.7/1000 live births and the rate in the indigenous population was 4.7/1000 live births.
Fang S, McLaughlin J, Fang J, Huang J, Autti-Rämö I, Fagerlund A, Jacobson SW, Robinson LK, Hoyme HE, Mattson SN, Riley E, Zhou F, Ward R, Moore ES, Foroud T; Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Automated diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome using 3D facial image analysis Orthod Craniofac Res. 2008 Aug;11(3):162-71
“An automated feature detection and analysis technique was developed and applied to the two study populations. A unique set of facial regions and features were identified for each population that accurately discriminated FAS and control faces without any human intervention.”
26 August 2008 Draft Australian alcohol guidelines for low-risk drinking
“Following the initial consideration by the NHMRC Council, NHRMC is finalising the NHMRC Australian alcohol guidelines for low risk drinking, including the latest research. The Council is expected to consider them again in late 2008.”
Jacobson SW, Stanton ME, Molteno CD, Burden MJ, Fuller DS, Hoyme HE, Robinson LK, Khaole N, Jacobson JL. Impaired eyeblink conditioning in children with fetal alcohol syndrome Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2008 Feb;32(2):365-72.
Rothstein J, Heazlewood R, Fraser M; Paediatric Outreach Service.Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in remote Far North Queensland: findings of the Paediatric Outreach Service. Med J Aust. 2007 May 21;186(10):519-21.
“In the paediatric population of Aboriginal communities, the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder was at least 15/1000 (1.5%)”
Mukherjee R, Eastman N, Turk J, Hollins S. Fetal alcohol syndrome: law and ethics. Lancet. 2007 Apr 7;369(9568):1149-50.