The Loop - e-news
National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Australia 
 [ Issue #12, August 2014 ]
More News
Dear Members & Supporters,
This month in “The Loop”
We are excited to present our new look newsletter!  The new design still features our usual categories, but in what we hope is a more readable, user-friendly format.  This newsletter layout has also been developed to display beautifully on portable devices such as smart phones and tablets, which are being used more and more to view online content.  Bare with us, however, while some small - mostly aesthetic - issues are sorted out!

This month NOFASD Australia launched an initiative via social media for International FASD Awareness Day, which falls on the 9th September.  We are asking our followers to join us in pledging to not drink alcohol on 9th September.  Read more about this in our “Of Special Interest” section of this newsletter.

Once again, we are completely overwhelmed with the amount of articles and particularly research that has surfaced this month – it is very interesting to see what is being achieved within our community.  While research is only part of the equation, it is a piece of the puzzle to understanding FASDs and, in turn, being able to source and create appropriate services for those affected. 

Finally, we'd like to issue an apology to A/Prof. Brian Owler, who was incorrectly referred to as “Brian Fowler” in our last newsletter.  The online version of the newsletter was promptly corrected.  Thank you to Michael Thorne for picking up on this error.
We also acknowledge that FARE produced the videos and projects featured in our last newsletter under title “Women Want To Know”, a fact inadvertently omitted from that publication.

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter.
And as always, please share the NOFASD Community newsletter with your family and friends.

Until next time,

Terri Baran
Social Media & Administration Officer​
 
From My Desk...

Within the same timeframe as the current National Drug Strategy 2010-15, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) launched a comprehensive National FASD Plan; a first Commonwealth FASD Action Plan was launched by the previous Federal government in August 2013; and now Australia has a modified version of this same announced by the current Federal government on the 25th June this year.


Represented in the consultation processes leading to the development of the former two plans, NOFASD Australia, as the recognised non-government peak body representing the interests of individuals and families living with FASD,  had a day’s notice prior to the June announcement. Who 'acted' as the voice representing the needs of the many individuals and families living with FASD, I cannot determine? According to the media release on "25 June 2014…the FASD Action Plan … was developed with input from a range of stakeholders including the IDC Round Table held on 19 June 2013." The IDC stands for Intergovernmental Committee and there is no indication 'who' the range of stakeholders might be. I assume it was our stakeholder presence when the former Plan was developed.


What might be of interest to NOFASD Australia's supporters is not so much what has been included (and funded) but what has been excluded or replaced. The backgrounder (which firmly acknowledged the 2013 Commonwealth National FASD Action Plan with the report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into FASD – FASD: The Hidden Harm) has been omitted. Secondly, the previous National FASD Action Plan had a policy context which situated FASD within the scope of alcohol related harms (p.4); and considered the National Disability Insurance Scheme which gives hope to those Australians and their families who live with FASD. 


There is the obvious decrease in Federal funding, an investment in the 2013 FASD Action Plan of $20 million over four years down to $9.2 million across the same period of time in the 2014 FASD Action Plan. 

So where is the $9.2m of funding to be spent?

1.  Alcohol and other drugs services for alcohol dependent women will receive $3.1m in grants
2.  $1.5m has been allocated to further research on best practice guidelines
3.  $4m will be invested in New Directions: Mother and Babies program
4.  $500,000 to the FASD Diagnostic Tool
5.  $100,000 to set up a FASD Technical Network


None of these initiatives are unwelcomed but arguably cover a too-narrow band. Prevention of FASD as a "goal for the future" is reported to require a "multi-faceted approach" and this means inclusion of parents/carers, service systems, communities, government. As the peak body representing Australian individuals and families living with FASDs, the 2014 National FASD Action Plan falls short and ought to have considered that responding only to future prevention denies the problem right now in communities across Australia and perpetuates the invisibility of the needs of those already affected. 

Secondly, FASD seems to be understood and policy positioned as a health issue in this latest Plan. In our experience, a diagnosis is ideal however once made, the longer term impact for the individual and their family is seldom medical but rather a social issue (for example, establishing and sustaining positive relationships and friendships, managing school and realising academic achievement and managing daily life tasks). As Professor Elizabeth Elliott cautioned in her statement, "There is no point making a diagnosis and then leaving people in the lurch. We have to have follow-up—follow-up with families coping with the grief of a diagnosis, follow-up in the schools, follow-up in the justice system and follow-up in the health system." (House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into FASD p.115)

Funding New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program, the (NDMB) "also forms the Commonwealth's contribution to Element Three of the National Partnership Agreement for Indigenous Early Childhood Development (NPA IECD)" and is an important strategy. Not extending this initiative across all Australian communities where it is needed diminishes the reality of the non-discriminatory impact of alcohol on the health and wellbeing of too many Australian children, pre-birth and post birth. FASD has never been evidenced to be solely an Aboriginal issue. 

The connections made between "at risk women" and the risk of FASD avoids the tough conversation about lower risk drinking on adverse fetal outcomes across the spectrum. Whilst acknowledging the link between FAS and higher risk drinking in pregnancy is a very real concern, overt claims of targeted support "to areas of greatest disadvantage (where women may also be at greater risk of alcohol misuse during pregnancy)" is contentious. The vulnerability of a particular pregnancy or fetus to the toxic effects of alcohol is not about ethnicity, race or other issues of disadvantage, it is rather the vulnerability to the toxicity to alcohol which is the issue.  

In the FASD: The Hidden Harm report however, prevention was deemed dependent on "providing pregnant women with the appropriate information, knowledge and support", recognising FASD as one of the many social harms that result from risky drinking levels and addressing alcohol consumption in society in general to help prevent FASD. Included is recognition of the importance of messages for women who are not planning to become pregnant or do not know they are pregnant.

Diagnosis is recognised as vital for early intervention to minimise "the impact of FASD in later life" and management as dependent on awareness and understanding by "teachers, parents and carers, judicial officers, police and youth workers" and that the Commonwealth Government "needs to lead the way in recognising FASD as a legitimate and serious disability requiring investment in "support services, funding, educational resources, and criminal diversionary programs for people with FASD and their families." A cohesive national approach "to ensure certainty and equity of support for people with FASD across all states, consistent collection of data, consistency of prevention messages, and shared evaluations of management strategies" was a strong belief expressed by the Committee.

A final point. The primary recommendation from the Committee in the report from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into FASD – FASD: The Hidden Harm, proposed "the establishment of a National Action Plan and FASD Reference Group… to advise on national initiatives to prevent, identify and manage FASD, including the high level recommendations made by the Committee." How did the wonderful information from a widely consulted National FASD Inquiry shift to become a National FASD Action which is limited to  a National FASD Technical Network and discretionary research and funding priorities rather than a focus on community collaboration, universal prevention and above all else, helpful to the many families whose needs are often not met because they are denied access to a suitable program for their kids because their child does not have a recognised/understood disability or had a 7th birthday. 

I welcome your thoughts. 

Vicki Russell
vicki@nofasd.org.au
CEO, NOFASD Australia
Of Special Interest
International FASD Awareness Day
International FASD Awareness Day is acknowledged every year on the 9th September (9/9).  This year, NOFASD Australia has launched an initiative encouraging our followers on social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter, to take a public pledge to not consume alcohol on that day in support of FASD Awareness.
Why the 9th September?  The first International FASD Awareness Day was held on the 9th September 1999. The date was chosen to recognise the 9 months of pregnancy and to remind the world that women should abstain from alcohol for the entirety of the pregnancy.
Please join us and take the pledge!  Some examples of how you can do this are:
  • Take a photo of yourself with a non-alcoholic beverage and post to your Facebook and/or Twitter.
  • Post a status or ‘tweet’ declaring your abstinence from alcohol on 9/9, “because I know what FASD is.”
  • Host an alcohol-free morning/afternoon tea on 9/9, and hold a casual discussion with friends and family about FASD.  A very useful resource packet is available from The Frontier Regional FASD Training Center. Download it here
Remember to include the hashtag #FASDAwarenessDay in your social media updates!
We're looking forward to seeing all of your pledges!
Terri Baran
Social Media & Administration Officer

Women Want To Know
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), in collaboration with leading health professional organisations has launched a new national campaign that aims to encourage health professionals to talk to women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy about alcohol.

Known as Women Want to Know, the campaign consists of online and print resources to support health professionals to discuss alcohol use and pregnancy. The campaign was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and is the first national project to promote the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol (Alcohol Guidelines) since their revision in 2009.

Research shows that 97% women want to receive information on pregnancy and alcohol from their health professional[1] and women look to their health professionals for correct advice, rather than rely on advice from family, friends or the internet on what changes to make.

However, a survey of 300 health professionals undertaken as part of the campaign found that one in five health professionals had not heard of the Alcohol Guidelines and some health professionals were reluctant to discuss alcohol with women, because they are concerned about the woman’s comfort or are unsure of what advice to provide.

Women Want to Know aims to assist health professionals in overcoming these barriers by providing resources relevant to them and FREE online accredited training through the Australian College of Midwives, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on alcohol and pregnancy.

For more information on Women Want to Know and to order print resources visit www.alcohol.gov.au



[1] Peadon E, Payne J, Henley N, O’Leary C, D’Antoine H, Bartu A, Bower C, Elliott E. (2011). How do women want to be informed about alcohol use in pregnancy? In: Book of Abstracts.  4th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders 2011. The Power of Knowledge. Integrating Research, Policy, and Promoting Practice Around the World. March 2-5, 2011, Vancouver, Canada. 

National News and Media
Disability 'criminalised' by treatment of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Disability is being criminalised through the treatment of people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders within Australia’s justice system, advocates have argued at a Northern Territory inquiry.  First People’s Disability Network is among the organisations fighting to have the disorders defined as a disability, arguing sufferers are being driven into jails because they have no support from their community.  Read more...

NT govt focusing on pregnant drinkers
High-flying career women in the inner city and Aboriginal women living in remote communities are both looking down the barrel of the same gun: the risk of having babies with FASD.  A Northern Territory parliamentary committee travelled to Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs hearing evidence from health experts and community members to determine how prevalent the condition is and how the government can reduce it.  Read more...

Canberrans urged to swap the pub for a bub
Nearly one in five women drink while pregnant, but a new campaign is seeking to drive down the unhealthy statistic by encouraging Canberrans to banish the booze in support of their pregnant partners and friends.   The Pregnant Pause campaign, launched on Wednesday [20th August] at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, comes on the back of research showing nearly three quarters of pregnant women who drink do so with their partner. Read more... 

Single drink binge can damage [NZ]
A single drinking binge in late pregnancy could harm child development, research on rats from the University of Otago suggests.  The evidence on how drinking can damage brain cells has been released by neuroscience researcher Dr Paul Shoemack.   'It's a difficult situation. It may make people think twice,'' he said.  Read more...
Resources
Adults Living with FASD
Even amongst those who do recognise FASD, the focus is often on children and not adults with the disorders.  As individuals with FASD enter adulthood, they and their family members and caregivers face additional challenges.  NOFAS has compiled a list of resources and information to help adults and caregivers better manage FASD in adulthood.  Read more...

Tools For Success:  Working with Youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the Juvenile Justice System
A self-paced educational program with some valuable information.  Developed by SAMHSA.  Read more...
 
Book:  “Living and Learning with FASD”
A book created by students with FASD for the use of educating other students about FASD in a child-friendly way with their own personal illustrations.  By The Bridges Intermediate Classroom at David Livingstone School.  Read more... ​
International News and Media

Challenges of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome [USA]
Laura Bloch adored his picture.  "My husband and I had just been approved through an adoption agency and the agency sent out a letter with a picture of a child on it," said Bloch of Edina, Minn., over the phone. "The letter said this little boy was available through a Russian orphanage… I would have moved heaven and earth to get him."  At first, their adoption agency and paediatrician believed Alex didn’t have fetal alcohol syndrome – something of particular concern with Russian adoptions.  Read more...


NOFAS Releases Report on Clinical Intervention for American Indian and Alaska Native Women [USA]
NOFAS has published Implementing CHOICES in Clinical Settings that Serve American Indian and Alaska Native Women of Childbearing Age: Report, Implementation Plan, and Resources. The report describes the considerations for implementing CHOICES—a prevention program that targets women at risk of having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy before they become pregnant—in clinical settings serving American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women of childbearing age.  Read more...


Alaska Boy Uses Music to Cope with FASD [USA]
When the Lavigueure family found out their adopted son Shaun had fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, they were shocked and didn't believe it.  Shelley and her husband Louie started reading up on the disorder as well as reaching out to ASSETS and Stone Soup Group for guidance.  They started getting Shaun involved in soccer, basketball and music to help him channel his energy.  "We realized with him playing the flute he has this amazing talent, and for him to sit still and play the flute is shocking."  Read more...


Special Olympic athlete competing to be on cover of Runner's World [USA]
A gold medal winning Special Olympic athlete from Indiana has entered a competition to gain national recognition of a different kind.  Andrew Peterson, 21, has hopes of bringing awareness to the abilities of people with special needs by appearing on the cover of a national publication.  Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, the accomplished runner overcame mental and physical challenges to excel on his middle and high school cross country teams before joining Special Olympics Indiana.  Read more...


New Way to Fight FASD [Canada]
Maple Ridge's Asante Centre is doing groundbreaking work in the field of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, with the new program 'Through an Aboriginal Lens'.  While [the] centre's main goal is to support people who suffer from the disorder, getting people to put themselves through the assessment process can also be challenging.  Read more...


Teen with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Becomes Advocate
Kelly McKinney said, "I had our home qualified both as a foster and adoptive home before picking Kiah up from the hospital when she was a day old. I knew I wanted to adopt a baby and it took a year for us to get her adopted."  Everything went well until Kelly began noticing Kiah falling behind on all her developmental milestones, including crawling, walking, and talking. With mom's endorsement, Kiah has become an advocate for her own cause. Read more...


FASD Social Skills Training: For Children and Parents [USA]
FASD is a disorder that causes many children and adolescents who had pre-natal exposure to alcohol have difficulty developing friendships and social skills. Many do not know how to pick friends or initiate conversations.  The first step to beginning the class taught by Lifetrack staff members, Mary Gallagher and Jeri Mullan, was to gauge the children and parents' energy levels. Children with FASD often have difficulty regulating their emotions, and this is a simple tool to bring awareness to how one is feeling.  Read more...


Governor Signs Midwife, FASD Legislation [USA]
Governor Sean Parnell has signed legislation to help eradicate FASD  Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 urges the governor to increase the capability of rapid screening for FASD within state agencies and to expand residential substance abuse treatment services in Alaska for pregnant women experiencing drug or alcohol addiction challenges.  Read more...


LCBO joins campaign against Fetal Alcohol Syndrome [Canada]
Beginning on Monday [25th August], all 640 LCBO outlets across Ontario are beginning an advocacy campaign around Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and its related disorders.  It's the first for the provincial alcohol distributor and a win for Brian Philcox and Bonnie Buxton.  Read more...


Alcohol abuse in pregnancy could become a crime, legal papers claim [UK]
An unprecedented court hearing to decide on the right of a child whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy to receive compensation could pave the way to the criminalisation of pregnant women's behaviour, according to legal papers lodged with the judge.  The British Pregnancy Advisory Service and legal charity Birthrights have applied to address the court on the case. They believe the ruling could undermine women's freedom to make decisions for themselves while pregnant.  Read more...

Latest Research
Developmental Trajectories for Visuo-Spatial Attention are Altered by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: A Longitudinal FMRI Study
P. Gautam, S.C. Nunez, K.L. Narr, S.N. Mattson, P.A. May, C.M. Adnams, E.P. Riley, K.L. Jones, E.C. Kan and E.R. Sowell, Cerebral Cortex, 4th August 2014
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) reveals brain activation abnormalities during visuo-spatial attention and working memory among those with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in cross-sectional reports, but little is known about how activation changes over time during development within FASD or typically developing children.  Findings suggest a possible neural mechanism for attention deficits common among individuals with FASD.  Read more...

Heat shock factor 2 is a stress-responsive mediator of neuronal migration defects in models of fetal alcohol syndrome
R. El Fatimy, F. Miozzo, A. Le Mouëi, R. Abane, L. Schwendimann, D. Sabéran-Djoneidi, A. de Thonel, I. Massaoudi, L. Paslaru, K. Hashioto-Torii, E. Christians, P. Rakic, P. Gressens and V. Mezger, EMBO Molecular Medicine, 15th July 2014
The molecular mechanisms underlying brain development defects induced by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy are unclear. The researchers used normal and Hsf2-deficient mice and cell systems to uncover a pivotal role for heat shock factor 2 (HSF2) in radial neuronal migration defects in the cortex, a hallmark of fetal alcohol exposure. Upon fetal alcohol exposure, HSF2 is essential for the triggering of HSF1 activation, which is accompanied by distinctive post-translational modifications, and HSF2 steers the formation of atypical alcohol-specific HSF1–HSF2 heterocomplexes. This perturbs the in vivo binding of HSF2 to heat shock elements (HSEs) in genes that control neuronal migration in normal conditions, such as p35 or the MAPs (microtubule-associated proteins, such as Dclk1 and Dcx), and alters their expression. In the absence of HSF2, migration defects as well as alterations in gene expression are reduced. Thus, HSF2, as a sensor for alcohol stress in the fetal brain, acts as a mediator of the neuronal migration defects associated with FASD.  Read more...

Drinking During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy – a Cause for Concern
P.J. Shoemack, Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Otago, 2014
Due to the majority of effects being phenotypically subtle, many cases [of FASD] are not diagnosed, and subsequently do not receive support and treatment. Drinking during pregnancy is an on-going issue in New Zealand, in particular binge-like episodes resulting in high blood alcohol concentrations. These episodes have been shown to continue throughout pregnancy in some women, and a lack of evidence correlating specific structural and functional outcomes after a single alcohol binge during the third trimester leaves room for question about what timing and quantity of alcohol induces lasting abnormalities in early life and adulthood.  It is clear from the results of this study that a single ethanol binge on PN6 induces significant neuronal death in both the hippocampal CA1 and Acc areas, in a dose dependent fashion.  Both of these areas are involved with social functioning.  These data contribute to the growing pool of evidence that any amount of alcohol during any stage of pregnancy may have serious repercussions, and only through continuing research will we begin to build an evidence base for public health policy and guidelines.  Read more...

Pregnancy outcomes of mothers with an alcohol-related diagnosis: a population-based cohort study for the period 1983-2007
V.M. Srikartika and C.M. O’Leary, BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 19th August 2014
The researchers set out to examine the fetal outcomes of mothers with an alcohol-related diagnosis.  Infants of mothers with an alcohol-related diagnosis were identified through the WA data linkage system.  A comparison cohort of infants born to mothers without an alcohol diagnosis was frequency matched on maternal age, year of birth of the offspring, and Aboriginal status.  The conclusions drawn were that mothers with an alcohol diagnosis are at increased risk of poor pregnancy outcomes, and the public health impact of maternal alcohol-use disorders on fetal outcomes is significant.  Read more...

Advances in the development of novel antioxidant therapies as an approach for fetal alcohol syndrome prevention
X. Joya, O. Garcia-Algar, J. Salat-Batlle, C. Pujades and O. Vall, Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 18th August 2014
Ethanol is the most common human teratogen, and its consumption during pregnancy can produce a wide range of abnormalities in infants known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Although the underlying molecular mechanisms of ethanol neurotoxicity are not completely determined, the induction of oxidative stress is believed to be one central process linked to the development of the disease. Currently, there is no known effective strategy for prevention (other than alcohol avoidance) or treatment. In the present review we will provide the state of art in the evidence for the use of antioxidants as a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment using whole-embryo and culture cells models of FASD. We conclude that the imbalance of the intracellular redox state contributes to the pathogenesis observed in FASD models, and we suggest that antioxidant therapy can be considered a new efficient strategy to mitigate the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure.  Read more...

The Safe Passage Study: Design, Methods, Recruitment, and Follow-Up Approach
K.A. Dukes, L. Burd, A.J. Elliott, W.P. Fifer, R.D. Folkerth, G. D. V. Hankins, D. Hereld, H.J. Hoffman, M.M. Myers, H,J, Odendaal, C. Signore, L.M. Sullivan, M. Willinger, C. Wright, H.C. Kinney and for the PASS Research Network, Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 5th August 2014
The Safe Passage Study is a large, prospective, multidisciplinary study designed to (1) investigate the association between prenatal alcohol exposure, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and stillbirth, and (2) determine the biological basis of the spectrum of phenotypic outcomes from exposure, as modified by environmental and genetic factors that increase the risk of stillbirth, SIDS, and in surviving children, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. The Safe Passage Study is the first multi-site study of SIDS and stillbirth to integrate prospectively collected exposure information with multidisciplinary biological information in the same maternal and fetal/infant dyad using a common protocol. Essential components of the study design and its success are close ties to the community and rigorous systems and processes to ensure compliance with the study protocol and procedures.
Read more...

Moderate alcohol exposure during early brain development increases stimulus-response habits in adulthood
M.O. Parker, A.M-. Evans, A.J. Brock, F.J Combe, M-T. The and C.H. Brennan, Addiction Biology, 19th August 2014
Exposure to alcohol during early central nervous system development has been shown variously to affect aspects of physiological and behavioural development.  In extreme cases, this can extend to craniofacial defects, severe developmental delay and mental retardation.  The researchers tested the hypothesis that adult zebrafish chronically exposed to moderate levels of ethanol during early brain ontogenesis would show an increase in conditioned place preference for alcohol and an increased propensity towards habit formation.  Both hypotheses were found to have support via this study.  Read more...

Maternal periconceptional alcohol consumption and congenital limb deficiencies
K.M. Caspers Conway, P.A. Romitti, L. Holmes, R.S. Olney, S.D. Richardson and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 18 August 2014
Women of childbearing age report high rates of alcohol consumption, which may result in alcohol exposure during early pregnancy. Epidemiological research on congenital limb deficiencies (LDs) and periconceptional exposure to alcohol is inconclusive. Data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) were examined for associations between LDs and patterns of maternal periconceptional (1 month before conception through the first trimester) alcohol consumption among LD case (n = 906) and unaffected control (n = 8352) pregnancies with expected delivery dates from 10/1997 through 12/2007. Maternal periconceptional alcohol consumption did not emerge as a teratogen for selected LDs in the NBDPS. Future studies should evaluate additional rare LDs among more highly exposed populations.  Read more...

Research Proposal: Ibuprofen as a protective treatment for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
A video by Dr. Derick Lindquist & Molly Goodfellow from Ohio State University.  The proposal is to test ibuprofen as a treatment of neuro-inflammation of the brain, interrupting the interaction of Cox-2 with arachidonic acid in the brain.  Watch the video here...
Upcoming Events
Remember to visit our events page on our website for a full listing of upcoming events. 

International FASD Awareness Day – 15th Anniversary
DATE: 9th September 2014
DETAILS: September 9, 2014 will mark the 15th anniversary of International FASD Awareness Day.  First recognised in 1999, FASD Awareness Day was created to alert people to the importance of not drinking alcohol during pregnancy and the need to provide effective services for individuals and families impacted by these disorders.
Why not hold an activity for the day?   Some suggestions can be found at Frontier Regional FASD Training Center’s website

NDIS Community Forums
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is hosting various Community Information Sessions and Forums around New South Wales and South Australia in August 2014.  To see if one is near you soon, please visit the NDIS Events page.
To see if you are able to access assistance from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, use the My Access Checker available on the NDIS website.

International FASD Awareness Day – Community Workshop with Vicki Russell [CEO, NOFASD Australia] – Kalgoorlie, WA
DATE: 9 September 2014
DETAILS: 6.30pm – 8pm. Kalgoorlie Local Drug Action Group present a community workshop to provide information about FASD.  WMC Conference Centre, 44 MacDonald Street.  Free open community invite.  Find out more here

Reducing Alcohol Harms: A Global Perspective – Fitzroy, Melbourne
DATE: 12 September 2014
DETAILS: 10am – 1pm
At the Ballroom at Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier Street, Fitzroy.
Want to know how Australia compares to other countries in alcohol policy development?  Want to know what policies are working overseas to reduce alcohol harms and how Australia can learn from these experiences?  FARE and the Kettil Bruun Society invite you to attend a public forum on alcohol policy featuring experts from around the world.
RSVP by COB 8th September 2014 to glenis.thomas@fare.org.au or phone 02 6122 8600

ATCA 2014 Conference – Coogee, NSW
DATE: 13 – 16 October 2014
DETAILS: Hosted by Odyssey House McGrath Foundation, Ted Noffs Foundation, The Salvation Army Recovery Services and WHOS, this year’s conference will bring together professionals working in therapeutic communities, researchers and clinicians in the Alcohol and other Drug (AOD) field and affiliated areas. Therapeutic Communities (TCs) are an integral part of the alcohol and other drug services landscape, nationally and internationally, with ATCA members managing over 60 TCs in Australia and New Zealand, as well as a host of other community and prison-based services.
The conference program commences on Tuesday 14 October and will conclude on Thursday at 12.30pm. For more information and to register, click here.

2014 APSAD Conference – Adelaide, SA
DATE: 9 November 2014
DETAILS: This year’s conference theme, "The times they are a changin' " was chosen by the Scientific Program Committee to reflect the changing times and increased pressures faced by the drug and alcohol sector. Clinical and non-clinical research is also dramatically increasing our understanding of dependence, prevention and treatment. The conference, to be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from Sunday 9 – Wednesday 12 November 2014, will feature an exciting program of international and national speakers, focusing on new treatments, prevention and policy in the areas of drug and alcohol research. With original and innovative work from the field, the program will encourage alternative presentation styles.  For further information and registration, click here.
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