Dr Heidi Webster is a consultant paediatrician specialising in developmental and behavioural disorders. She is the Clinical Services Director at the Sunshine Coast Child Development Service (CDS) in Maroochydore, QLD and set up the Sunshine Coast FASD Clinic within the CDS in 2015. During her Paediatric training, Heidi experienced working in rural Indigenous communities, including Woorabinda (Central QLD) and Mornington Island, and was involved in a Community Child Health Nurse Home-visiting program designed to support disadvantaged families with infants in Brisbane. In combination with the Chermside Indigenous Health Service, she and a maternal child health nurse piloted the home-visiting program to provide support for urban indigenous families with infants and young children in North Brisbane, to promote positive early childhood developmental outcomes for indigenous children. Her research has involved analysis of the effectiveness of nurse home-visiting to improve the quality of urban indigenous children’s early environments, and a systematic literature review of nurse home-visiting for disadvantaged infants and their families around the world.
Heidi also works in a private Paediatric practice on the Sunshine Coast, focussing on diagnosis and management of childhood autism spectrum disorders and the many childhood learning, behaviour and mental health conditions seen in Community Paediatric practice. Heidi enjoys interfacing with education professionals in a number of models of practice involving case-conferencing and/ or school visits, in order to best understand children’s predicaments and provide holistic care within their various environments.
Heidi is passionate about improving child development services using a child-centred focus which takes into account the influence of family and broader environments, and in particular, early identification of childhood developmental disorders, enabling accessing of meaningful early intervention, parental understanding and capacity building, and maximising children’s potential and quality of life in all their environments. Her interest in FASD started when she trained with Dr Doug Shelton’s FASD clinic team on the Gold Coast in 2014, and then set up the Sunshine Coast FASD diagnostic clinic in 2015 for children aged 0-12 years, and trained the allied health team within Sunshine Coast CDS in FASD diagnosis. She is a member of the Australian FASD Clinical Network, and assisted in forming a research and clinical consortium between Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast Child Development Services, and Griffith and Sunshine Coast Universities to expand Queensland’s clinical FASD diagnostic services and enable Sunshine Coast CDS to engage in research into the impact of FASD on children and families. Heidi has been a public speaker for FASD in numerous community and health service education sessions, and is committed to enhancing awareness of the risks and effects of drinking in pregnancy, and FASD in the wider community, as well as within health, education, child protection, disability and community services.
Heidi is the Vice President of the Neurodevelopmental Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia, a group of specialist Paediatricians and other doctors dedicated to best practice care, research and education around neurodevelopmental and behavioural conditions in children. She is passionate about improving the childhood and long-term life course outcomes for children with developmental disorders, and those from at risk groups, including children in out of home care, and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children.