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 FASD in the news

Below you will find the latest national and international FASD news, research and upcoming events. If you have some FASD news or upcoming events that you would like us to share with our readers please Contact Us.

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Sue Miers nominated for Imact 25 Awards! 

NOFASD’s founder Sue Miers has been nominated for the Pro Bono Australia Impact 25 Awards. Awards will be given based on public votes, with 337 nominees in the running. Sue is recognized for her contribution to raising awareness of FASD in Australia, leading to more research and support services for families and more prevention messaging about the risks of alcohol and pregnancy.

Please help us to further raise awareness of FASD by voting for Sue through this link. 

Posted on 17th January

8th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, March 2019

Research, Results and Relevance: Integrating Research, Policy and Promising Practice Around the World

This advanced level conference/meeting continues to bring together global experts from multiple disciplines to share international research. From the pure science, to prevention, diagnosis and intervention across the lifespan, the conference will address the implications of this research and promote scientific/community collaboration.

Click here for more information

Posted on 18th December





Free online training for those new to FASD

CanFASD has created a free online course for allied health and other professionals, parents and carers, and anyone else who comes into contact with individuals and families living with FASD. Parents of children living with FASD have provided good feedback about this course, describing it as very easy to understand, basic and great for families new to FASD and the neurobehavioural approach. Read more

Posted on 21st December

General Movements training in Queensland, March 2019

General Movements Assessments may enable early detection of infants at risk of Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Evidence shows that qualitative assessment of General Movements at a very early age is the best predictor for cerebral palsy and can be used as a risk assessment for other neurological conditions.

The Cairns and Brisbane training courses are designed especially for clinicians working with FASD and are recommended for medical specialists, neonatologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses and other professionals in the field of infant neurology. Read more here

Posted on 18th December

Program Manager of FASD Prevention (WA)

Telethon Kids Institute are looking for a Program Manager of FASD Prevention in WA jd-program-manager-fasd . For more information please click here 

Posted on 10th December

Professor Elizabeth Elliott awarded the James Cook Medal

Professor Elizabeth Elliott, from the Sydney School of Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, is a professor in paediatrics and child health, and a practising paediatrician. This prize recognises Professor Elliott’s significant contributions to improving the health and quality of life, as well as human rights, of ill and disadvantaged children in Australia, the Asia Pacific and beyond. Her translational research has been at the forefront of advances in evidence-based paediatrics, rare diseases, gastroenterology and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Read more here

Posted on 8th December

Lifetime Achievement Award named the “Sue Miers Award”

The Australasian FASD Conference co-chairs presented NOFASD founder Sue Miers with a lifetime achievement award in recognition of her contributions to the FASD field. Sue Miers founded NOFASD Australia 20 years ago and has dedicated huge amounts of time and energy to advocacy, prevention and support for families with FASD. Professors Carol Bower and Elizabeth Elliott announced that the award will be named the Sue Miers Award from this day forward in recognition of Sue’s efforts as a pioneer in the FASD field.

Posted on 23rd November

Web series for parents and professionals supporting people with FASD

International FASD specialist Nate Sheets is offering 50% off his 2019 web series at Oregon Behavior Consultation. This 12-part series covers a range of topics on supporting those with FASD. Nate’s webinar series earlier this year received great reviews from NOFASD Australia’s network of parents, carers and professionals. Read more about Nate’s 2019 web series here.

Posted on 6th November

HESTA’s Unsung Hero awarded to Sue Miers for her commitment to families with FASD

Sue founded NOFASD Australia 20 years ago to support the thousands of families struggling to understand and manage FASD. Following her difficulties with finding understanding, diagnosis and support with raising her adopted daughter, Sue wished to reach out to make things easier for other families raising a child with FASD. With Sue’s continued support, NOFASD Australia has flourished into the leading provider of information, services, linkages and referrals for FASD in Australia. Read more here.

Posted on 1st November

The 2nd Australasian FASD Conference

The 2nd Australasian FASD Conference will be held in Perth on 21-22 November 2018.

The conference has the theme Our Science Our Stories and aims to include academics, health professionals, educators, lawyers, politicians, parents & carers, those who support parents & carers and individuals who have FASD. Topics include prevention, screening & diagnosis, epigenetics, education, justice, parent & carer support, management strategies, life-span issues, mental health and economics. View the program here.

Posted on 31st October

Invitation to participate in a survey – raising children with or without FASD

Australian parents and carers are invited to take part in an online survey to test a new screening tool for children with FASD. Families raising children with and without FASD are asked to participate. Your input will contribute to ensuring that the screening tool is accurate. Click here to access the survey.

Posted on 29th October

Invitation to participate in a survey – your experience of FASD diagnosis and services

Living with FASD: The Impacts on your Child and your Family

The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) is working to collect information about the diagnostic challenges, personal, social and financial needs, as well as family experiences of living with and caring for a child with FASD. This survey is the first of its kind in Australia. Parents and carers are invited to complete the survey, which is estimated to take 30 to 50 minutes. Click here to access the survey.

Posted on 24th October

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Call to Action 34 calls on national, provincial and territorial governments to make changes to the criminal justice system to improve outcomes for offenders with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Posted on 19th October

6th National Brain Injury Conference

The 6th National Brain Injury Conference will be held on November 13th and 14th, 2018 at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
Dr Natasha Reid from the University of Queensland will be presenting a research snapshot on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Read more 

Posted on 16th October

Online Workshop

Telethon Kids Institute would like to invite you to participate in an Online Workshop on improving assessment processes for neurodevelopmental conditions. This workshop will be held on the 19 of October 2018. Participant Information 

Posted on 11th October

Survey of FASD practitioners

Researchers at Griffith University and The University of Queensland are doing a study to explore the impact of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) training and professional development on the current practices of Australian and New Zealand health practitioners.

View the flyer here or go directly to the survey.  

 Posted on 4th October 

Online seminar for lawyers  – October 11, 2018

A Canadian expert in the field of Forensic Psychiatry and FASD will explore what lawyers need to know when working with a client who may have FASD. Click here for more information and to register.

Posted on 4th October 

Foster and Kinship Carers training in the Northern Territory 

Following International FASD Awareness day Foster and Kinship Carers NT are excited to announce that NOFASD Australia will be presenting sessions for foster and kinship carers in the NT. Read more and register

Alice Springs: Monday 22nd October

Katherine: Wednesday 24th October

Darwin: Thursday 25th October 

Posted on 2nd October

HESTA Community Sector Awards

NOFASD Australia are excited to announce that their founder Sue Miers is a finalist in the 2018 HESTA Community Sector Awards!

Sue is one of two finalists in the Unsung Hero category and has been recognised for her voluntary work supporting families struggling to manage and understand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and for her tireless efforts in increasing awareness and prevention of the disability.

The winners of each category will be announced at a special awards dinner in Sydney on October 29th.

Posted on 25th September

‘FASD and Me’

FASD Hub Australia launched a creative artworks competition entitled ‘FASD and Me’ . The competition is open to people of all ages – kids, teenagers, adults living with FASD and their siblings, parents and caregivers. Entries can be drawings, paintings, cartoons, videos, poetry – anyway you want to tell a story.

Information and the Entry Form can be found on the FASD Hub.

Alcohol consumption lowest in half a century

Apparent consumption of alcohol per person has dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Family Survey Participant Info Sheet

Family Survey Participant Info Sheet – We invite you to be a part of a research project that looks at the experiences of families like yours, who are caring for a child or adolescent with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Your participation is important because we have limited information about the impact of FASD on children and their families in Australia

FASD – A Sunshine Coast Conversation

A free one-day community forum exploring the impacts of and responses to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Experts in the FASD field will present about the impacts of living with FASD and the latest local and national development in prevention, diagnosis and supports. Participants will contribute ideas for
community action to raise awareness and reduce the hardship associated with FASD on the Sunshine Coast.
This forum invites people who are:
• living with FASD
• interested in health and wellbeing
• working in education or childcare
• health professionals or community support workers
• involved in health or social research

The Community Forum will be held on 3 September in Bokarina from 8am to 2.30. Follow this link for more information about the forum and the scheduled presenters. Register for this free event here.

Posted on 22nd August 2018


Barriers to accessing education in the NT

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a particularly challenging issue in education. FASD is not easily identified and often goes undiagnosed. Behaviours associated with the disorder, such as learning and behavioural difficulties, can often be associated with and attributed to other disorders.
Click here to read full article

Posted on 14th August 2018

Upcoming events

The Sunshine Coast are having a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Community Forum on 3 September in Bokarina

Gold Coast Health are having a FASD International Awareness Day on the 6 of September at the Southport Health Precinct

FASD awareness day Lady Cilento 2018 is holding a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Lunch and Seminar on 7 of September at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital

FASD information session is being held on the September 10 at FamilyCare Shepparton for parents, carers and service providers.

Train it Forward FASD Masterclass is being held on the September 11 at FamilyCare Shepparton for parents, carers and service providers.

Train it Forward FASD Masterclass  is being held on the September 12 at the Wallen Family & Children’s Centre Wallen for parents, carers and service providers.

Posted on 9th August 2018


Invitation to attend NDIS focus group in NSW on Thursday 26th July

Carers and health professionals are invited to participate in a focus group on July 26 at 1:30 pm in Woolloomooloo which will seek feedback on the impact of the implementation of the NDIS on mental health carers and services. Mental Health Carers NSW is currently writing a submission for the parliamentary inquiry into the implementation of the NDIS and the provision of disability services in NSW.

The focus group will explore;

  • The impact of the implementation of the NDIS and of privatising government run disability services on mental health carers in NSW
  • The impact of the implementation of the NDIS on services which provide support to mental health carers and consumers including workforce issues and challenges involved in delivering services
  • The adequacy of current regulations and oversight mechanisms and potential opportunities to improve them

The afternoon will start with a joint discussion with both carers and professionals. Following this carers and professionals will split into separate groups in order to ensure that all have an opportunity to talk about the issues that are most pertinent to their situation.

Please contact for further information or to RSVP to attend.

Posted on 20 July 2018

Donna Ah Chee announced as keynote speaker at Rural Medicine Australia Conference

Donna Ah Chee, a highly respected advocate in the Aboriginal health sector, will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Rural Medicine Australia 2018 (RMA18) conference. The conference will be held at the Darwin Convention Centre from  25 – 27 October 2018, with a pre-conference clinical workshop and meeting day on Wednesday 24 October. RMA18 is the premier annual event for rural and remote doctors. Donna is a Bundgalung woman from the far north coast of New South Wales, and has lived in Alice Springs for 30 years, where she is a leader in the delivery of Aboriginal health services. RDAA President, Dr Adam Coltzau, said: “We are very excited to have Donna — who is such an influential member of the Aboriginal health community — speaking at RMA18. Read more here.

Posted on 17 July 2018

Alcohol and pregnancy – Why doesn’t it worry us?

Drink Tank recently published an article by NOFASD Australia’s Louise Gray, titled Alcohol and pregnancy – Why doesn’t it worry us? This was written in response to the upcoming government decision on alcohol and pregnancy labelling laws. Australian alcohol companies are not currently required to include pregnancy warning labels on their products, and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has commenced campaigning for a new mandatory labelling system to complement its FRSC submission. Read the article here.

Posted on 13 July 2018

FARE petition to end alcohol advertising in the NRL

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) have started a petition calling on the Australian Rugby League Commission to end alcohol advertising in the NRL. Millions of Australian children and families watch the NRL, a sport that is saturated with advertising. Evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with young people drinking more and from an earlier age. In addition to alcohol contributing to the three leading causes of death among young people in Australia, alcohol also contributes to unplanned pregnancy.  Fetal exposure to alcohol causes FASD – the leading known non-genetic cause of developmental disability in children. You can sign the petition here.

Posted on 6 July 2018

SA FASD Special Interest/Support Group Meeting – we would love to see you there!

South Australia, Friday 10th August 2018

Facilitator: Sue Miers (NOFASD founder)

The purpose of this informal group is to provide everyone with the opportunity to share your story if you feel comfortable doing so and find understanding and support through group discussion and access to helpful resources.

A light lunch will be provided so for catering purposes could you please let us no know by Friday 3rd August, if you will be attending. You can contact us here or free call 1800 860 613

When: Friday August 10
Time: 11.00 – 1.00
Junction Community Centre
2A May Terrace,
(cnr May Tce & Junction Rd)

Posted on 3 July 2018

Demystifying FASD in Youth Conference

New South Wales, Monday 13th August 2018

After the success of the last FASD Training Day, the CICADA Centre NSW will host “Demystifying FASD in Youth” to empower GPs, paediatricians, psychiatrists, allied and mental health professionals to develop knowledge and skills in FASD in children and adolescents. The registration form is available here.

Posted on 25 June 2018

Unravelling the myths of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Western Australia, 6.30pm Thursday 19th July 2018

Join clinical neuropsychologist Associate Professor Carmela Pestell as she sheds light on the hidden epidemic of FASD, why an accurate diagnosis of this complex condition is vital and how sufferers – both children and adults – can be helped to have a better future.
Date: Thursday 19th July 2018
Time: 6.30pm – 7.30pm (doors open at 6.00pm)
Venue: The Auditorium at The University Club of Western Australia
Address: Hackett Entrance #1, Hackett Drive, Crawley WA 6009

For more information and to register click here

Posted on 14 June 2018

8th International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Vancouver, March 6-9, 2019

Research, Results and Relevance: Integrating Research, Policy and Promising Practice Around the World

This advanced level conference/meeting continues to bring together global experts from multiple disciplines to share international research. From the pure science, to prevention, diagnosis and intervention across the lifespan, the conference will address the implications of this research and promote scientific/community collaboration.

Click here for more information

Posted on 12 June 2018

Are you the carer of a child with FASD?

Are you the carer of a child with FASD?  If so, researchers at the University of Queensland Child Health Research Centre are doing a study to assess health and well-being of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). They are looking to gather information from Australian caregivers who have children with FASD (aged 5-18 years).

The study hopes to fill in the gaps and learn more about how Australian children have been impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure and the stressors that caregivers and families are facing.  Ultimately this will help to develop interventions to improve the health and well-being of individuals with FASD and their families.

Click here for more information

Posted on 5 June 2018

The 2nd Australasian FASD Conference

The 2nd Australasian FASD Conference will be held in Perth on 21-22 November 2018.

It is important that families living with FASD know this conference is designed to benefit those with FASD, those with lived experienced, family support services, clinical professionals and researchers.

If you are interested in FASD – there is something for you at this conference!

Traditional conference abstract lodgement has been called for, however there is also scope to submit ideas and information in non-traditional ways. This could take the form of photos, videos, stories, posters and other ideas.

For example, you may care for a child with a talent for photography and a gallery of photos could provide insight and illumination into the world of that child. Such displays gives others a unique perspective and understanding. You may have designed, or come across, strategies, posters, charts, or tips which may be useful for others.

This is the forum to share these ideas and many others, click here to submit

If you need help, or have any questions about submissions please contact

Closing date for submissions is the 11th of May 2018.

Posted on 14 April 2018

New FASD Clinic

The Gold Coast Clinic is opening a new clinic for young children aimed at diagnosing children from 3-7 years of age. They are operating this with their usual team and also help from Griffith University.  The referral criteria are the same – a history of prenatal alcohol exposure plus developmental or behavioural concerns. Referrals can go through Tanya on or by phone on 56879183.

Posted on 9 March 2018

Support navigating the NDIS?

We’ve put together some information on accessing the NDIS. Read it here.

Posted on 16 March 2018

Survey – the way the law responds to people who behave in different ways

Professor Karpin and Dr O’Connell are both academics at the Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). They are researching the way that the law responds to people who behave in ways that are viewed by some members of society as challenging, different or difficult. We are talking to a range of people and are particularly interested in hearing about the lived experiences and thoughts of people with disability and their associates. As part of our research we have prepared two online surveys; one for people with disability and one for their associates. Both surveys are approximately 30 minutes long and are focused on how the law affects people one a day to day basis. You can find copies of the surveys (including the Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form) by clinking on the following links: and This research will allow us to consider whether the laws we have are working or whether they need to be changed. We will look at laws that have the effect of protecting or excluding people with disabilities and make suggestions about how they could be improved. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information. Professor Karpin can be contacted on 02 9514 3179 or at, and Dr O’Connell can be contacted on 02 9514 8079 or at

Posted on 8 March 2018

Adult and child diagnosis of FASD

Better Life Centre provides services to assist in the diagnosis and support of people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Using a team which may consist of a Paediatrician, Clinical, Educational and Developmental psychologists and Neuropsychologists our allied health professionals help to make the diagnosis process as simple as possible. Adherence to Australian Guidelines, our team upholds national standards in health care. The practitioners help with both child and adult diagnosis, while providing the framework for future support.

Better Life Centre

P: 07 3353 5430 | F: 07 3839 0966 | W: | E:

Posted on 2 March 2018

Prevalence of FASD in youth detention

Here is the link to the published paper on prevalence of FASD in youth detention

Posted on 14 February 2018

28 FASD Facts for Health Professionals

  1. Alcohol is a teratogen that readily crosses the placenta and damages the central nervous system and other organs and may impair prenatal and postnatal growth (Fitzpatrick & Pestell, 2016)
  2. When a mother consumes alcohol during pregnancy, the blood alcohol of the fetus is the same or higher than the mothers (Bower & Elliott, 2016)
  3. In the absence of facial dysmorphology, FASD is commonly underdiagnosed and mis-diagnosed as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Conduct Disorder (Stevens, S., Nash, Koren, & Rove, 2013).
  4. Only 41% of allied health and medical professionals are confident in asking about alcohol use during pregnancy which contributes to the under-diagnosis of FASD (Payne, Elliott, Bower et al., 2005).
  5. FASD is recognised as the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental and learning disability worldwide (Mather, Wiles & O’Brien, 2015).
  6. 92% of individuals living with FASD will have a co-occurring mental illness, with depression and suicidal ideation being the most common (Thanh & Jonsson, 2016)
  7. 50% of Australian women will experience an unplanned pregnancy, leaving the chance of alcohol exposed pregnancies very high (Australian Medical Association, 2016)
  8. The ‘spectrum’ of birth defects is due to the quantity of alcohol consumed, how frequently it was consumed and the timing during the gestation of the pregnancy it was consumed (May & Gossage, 2011).
  9. Rates of alcohol use, binge drinking and drinking during pregnancy are increasing in young Australian women (Elliott, Payne, Morris, Haan & Bower, 2008).
  10. The National Health and Medical Research Council and World Health Organisation advise to abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy and breastfeeding (NHRMC, 2009; World Health Organization, 2014)
  11. The 3 sentinel facial features for FASD (thin upper lip, smooth philtrum, short palpebral fissure length) are specific to alcohol exposure and do not vary by race, age or gender (Moore et al., 2007).
  12. Women have articulated that peer pressure & not wanting others to know they are pregnant, insufficient education and the enjoyment of alcohol as reasons they felt giving up alcohol during pregnancy would be hard (Tsang & Elliott, 2017).
  13. Life expectancy at birth for people with FAS is 34 years old with the leading cause of death being suicide (Thank & Jonsson, 2016).
  14. 83% of individuals living with FASD do not display facial features (Aros., et al, 2012)
  15. 1/3 women are unaware of the dangerous effects alcohol has on a developing fetus (Paedon, Payne, Bower, Elliott et al., 2008)
  16. Problems that emerge in childhood do not disappear with age, but rather form the development of additional and possibly more severe disorders later in life (Pei, Denys, Hughs & Rasmussen, 2011)
  17. The risk of developing early onset (13-17 years) alcohol abuse disorder was two times higher in those exposed to 3 or more standard drinks in early pregnancy (Alati et al., 2006)
  18. Facial dysmorphology only occurs when alcohol is consumed during the first trimester (Feldman et al., 2012)
  19. 81% of individuals living with FASD will have a language disorder (Popova et al., 2016)
  20. Children living with FASD are three times more likely to experience gross motor impairment than those without FASD. The most common gross motor deficits children experience is balance, coordination and ball skills (Lucas et al., 2014)
  21. FASD occurs in all cross-sections of society, wherever there is alcohol there is FASD (Fitzpatrick & Pestell, 2016).
  22. High socio-economic status is a stro