1.  NZ – Youth Court news FASD part 2

The December 2010 issue of ‘Court in the Act’, the NZ Youth Court newsletter, includes part two of a two part special on FASD, aimed at increasing the knowledge and appropriate response from within the justice system.  If you are interested in a copy please contact fannz [at] ahw [dot] org [dot] nz

2. Wurli-Wurlinjang — new Health Service for Katherine educating about alcohol & pregnancy

Wurli-Wurlinjang recently celebrated the opening of a dedicated Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Unit for the team of three qualified drug and alcohol workers to operate from on December 13. They are increasing their focus on reducing substance abuse among Aborignal peole in the Katherine area including working with young girls and elders to educate them about foetal alcohol syndrome.  They are also educating men about supporting their partners to not drink during a pregnancy. www.wurli.org.au

3. New project from NDRI in WA

Alcohol and pregnancy and fetal alcohol spectrum

disorders: resources for health professionals working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care settings Sherry Saggers, Steve Allsop,Colleen O’Leary, Dennis Gray, Ted Wilkes, Nyanda McBride, Kate Frances and Lynn Roarty  http://ndri.curtin.edu.au/local/docs/pdf/centrelines/ndri032.pdf

4. Australian expert panel calls for alcohol to carry labels warning of health risks for pregnant women

The Australian government should put warning labels on alcohol in conjunction with a broad public health campaign addressing alcohol use, according to an advisory panel,. Dr. Neal Blewett, a former health minister, led the panel of experts reviewing the issue. According to The Age, the panel recommended text warnings, like “Alcohol can damage your health” and “Drinking to excess is a danger to yourself and those around you.”The panel strongly supported warnings on the danger of drinking while pregnant. It said that not having such warnings on labels and at retail locations was “a glaring omission,” given that information about A spokesperson said the government would respond to the report’s recommendations by the end of the year Full story:


5. Rise in Drug and alcohol affected babies in WA

(Extract from The West Australian 10 Feb 2011) “The number of drug-addicted babies born in WA hospitals rose by more than a quarter last year. A total of 86 babies were born suffering serious withdrawal symptoms in the year to July 2010, compared with 67 the year before. The number of pregnant women who were treated for a serious drug or alcohol addiction at the State’s main maternity hospital has jumped 37 per cent since 2006. About 8 per cent of the 5000-odd women who gave birth at King Edward Memorial Hospital in the past financial year were identified as having a problem with drugs, alcohol or both. Dr Melissa O’Donnell, from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, said its research showed the number of WA newborns who suffered serious drug withdrawal symptoms was 40 times higher in 2005 than it was in 1980. She said many women who had drug-dependent babies had pre-existing mental health problems which made it harder for them to stop using drugs”.

For the complete article go to:  http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/newshome/8808278/drug-addict-baby-numbers-rise

6. FANNZ submission to the Alcohol Reform Bill

A submission on the Alcohol Reform Bill has recently been submitted to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee on behalf of Fetal Alcohol Network NZ (FANNZ). A copy can be  found here


7. NZ psychologist Frances Steinberg warns that shoddy diagnostic processes are seeing kids labelled with ADHD when they are suffering from other problems such as foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Psychologist and behavioural expert Frances Steinberg believes shoddy diagnostic processes are seeing kids labelled with ADHD when they are suffering from other problems such as foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Steinberg says the key is getting the diagnosis correct in the first place. “It’s not just naughty kids who are thrown into the ADHD basket. Children who have foetal alcohol syndrome, processing difficulties, depression and anxiety disorders, traumatic stress difficulties, head injuries, autistic spectrum disorders – you name it – are also lumped into the category.


8. A new Kiwi book on skills for parents

Trevor Lewis, a New Zealand based Behavior Specialist (and member of FANNZ) has written a second book entitled ‘Behaviour Skills for Parents, Teachers and Support People’. This is available via www.behaviourskills.com  at the current price of $NZ18.71. Trevor advises that this book may be helpful to those parents and teachers who struggle with the behaviour of someone with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or other learning type disability.

9. AER Foundation invests $500,000 in addressing FASD

The AER Foundation has commissioned five organisations to undertake projects that address current gaps in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) research and practice. The projects will focus on the following areas: •

  • Development of screening and diagnostic services in Australia;
  • Assessment of the level of knowledge of FASD within relevant government departments, agencies and services which provide support to parents and carers of disabled people;
  • Interdisciplinary research on professional knowledge, attitudes and practice relating to FASD within the education, criminal justice and child protection sectors;
  • Ethnographic and social research on attitudes to FASD, problems in identification and diagnosis and other barriers in accessing services.

Detailed information on each project will be made available on the AER Foundation website in the coming weeks www.aerf.com.au

10.  QIMR’s Professor Emma Whitelaw, has been awarded The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) Jubilee Medal

The medal was 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.

11. NOFASARD FASD Clearinghouse established

If you would like a disk sent out which contains research, information, suggestions, strategies and interventions please advise Anne Russell at anne [at] nofasard [dot] org [dot] au

12. New National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Program website

The Australian Government’s NDCO Program targets the barriers that people with disability face in successfully accessing and completing post-school education and training and subsequent employment. A national network of NDCOs works within 31 specific regions across Australia to improve the coordination and delivery of support services to help make it easier to enrol or participate in post-sc
hool education, training and employment.