The Loop - Nofasd Australia - Issue #1, 9 September 2013

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NOFASD Australia

Issue #1, 9 September 2013
Dear Members & Supporters,
Below are our key areas covered to keep you in The Loop,
This month in 'The Loop'

Dear members and supporters,

Today is International FASD Awareness Day. This annual event is marked in the 9th minute of the 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month of each year and asks us to reflect and consider the choice to have alcohol free pregnancies and share this prevention message across the world.  Future parents should be making this choice to not drink when planning a pregnancy given alcohol can be consumed prior to confirmation of a pregnancy.

On International FASD Awareness Day 2013, NOFASARD is excited to announce a new name and from today, NOFASARD will be known as the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Australia (NOFASD Australia). The name change reflects current accepted FASD terminology and acknowledges all conditions within the spectrum.

Together with the new name, we also introduce a new logo which maintains a connection with our old logo whilst symbolically incorporating ‘community’ through the introduction of circles. We hope the colour palette is non-gender specific and conveys the message that prevention is not just a girls or women’s issue, it is a community responsibility.

To add to the new name and logo, we are pleased to announce the launch of our first NOFASD Australia Strategic Plan 2013-16 and a new look website full of useful information and links. We invite you to visit our site at These changes signify NOFASD Australia’s future strategic direction as the national peak non-government organisation representing individuals and families living with FASD.

Please be assured that our core business has not changed in any way. NOFASD Australia remains committed to providing support to individuals and families living with FASD, advocating for a better quality of life through improved and co-ordinated service delivery and preventing FASD in Australia.

You will also notice that we have a new look newsletter, which we have named ‘The Loop’. We hope you like it.

There has been lots of news in the last month. Some particularly good news was the announcement by the Federal Government of $20 million over 4 years to fund the first Commonwealth FASD Action Plan.

Until next time,

Leila Picken
National Policy Officer

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Of Special Interest

NOFASD Australia Strategic Plan

Today NOFASD Australia is launching our first Strategic Plan (2013-2016).

Our Vision: The prevention of alcohol exposed pregnancies in Australia and an improved quality of life for those living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Our Mission: Is to be a strong and effective voice for individuals and families living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

The plan has six priority areas:

1.    Information and support services for individuals and families
2.    Community engagement
3.    Education and training
4.    Policy and advocacy
5.    Building partnerships
6.    Research

View the full Strategic Plan

NOFASD Australia New Website

Today we are also launching a new website with lots of useful information and links for a range of different stakeholders. Please take some time to have a look and let us know what you think.

If you are looking for information that is not on the website please contact us.


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National News and Media

New Commonwealth FASD Action Plan (2013-14 to 2016-17)

After many years of campaigning through the hard work of Sue Miers and a small group of volunteers, NOFASD Australia welcomes the release on 6 August 2013 of the first Commonwealth FASD Action Plan (2013-14 to 2016-2017) and looks forward to working with the Federal Government to further develop the detail of the plan. The Australian Government has committed $20 million over four years to fund the plan.

Responding to the Impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Australia: A Commonwealth Action Plan contains 5 key action areas:
  1. Enhancing efforts to prevent FASD in the community - $5 million
  2. Secondary prevention targeting women with alcohol dependency - $4.8 million
  3. Better diagnosis and management of FASD - $0.5 million
  4. Targeted measures supporting prevention and management of FASD within Indigenous communities and families in areas of social disadvantage - $5.9 million
  5. National coordination, research and workforce support - $4.0 million
Read the action plan or a summary

Communities Across WA Mark International FASD Awareness Day with a Pregnant Pause

The Injury Control Council of WA has organised a ‘Flash Mob’ Pregnant Pause event to mark International FASD Awareness Day. The aim of the event is to raise community awareness of the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and to promote that No Alcohol during Pregnancy is the Safest Option. In conjunction with Local Drug Action Groups Inc. regional Pregnant Pause events will also be held in Albany, Esperance, Geraldton, Harvey, Collie, Walpole, Dalyellup College, Broome and Manjimup. Well done WA!

If your community has hosted an event on International FASD Awareness Day this year please tell us about it. We are looking for stories and photos to put on our new website. 

WA Government signs up to DisabilityCare Australia

DisabilityCare Australia will now be delivered in every Australian State and Territory following an agreement between the Commonwealth Government and WA Government to launch DisabilityCare Australia in WA from July 2014.

The two Governments will jointly fund a DisabilityCare Australia launch site in the Perth Hills area. The Perth Hills DisabilityCare launch site will provide individualised care and support to around 4300 people with disability, with the Australian Government investing around $61 million over two years for participants’ support packages.

In addition, two sites will also be jointly funded to operate under the West Australian My Way model, in the Lower South West and Cockburn-Kwinana areas, with around 4,080 participants. These sites will be delivered by the Western Australian Disability Services Commission under State legislation. The Australian Government will contribute around $60 million to participants’ support packages in the My Way sites over the two-year launch period.

Go to the DisabilityCare Australia website for more information about the roll out of the scheme.

We would also like to draw your attention to the Every Australian Counts campaign. The focus of the campaign is to secure a commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme by as many politicians as possible to ensure that the NDIS is protected into the future.

Report on Consultation to Inform the Development of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy 2013 – 2018

Following the recent public consultation process conducted by the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) to inform the development of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy (NATSIPDS), NIDAC has released a report on the outcomes of the consultation.

A number of key themes came out of the consultations including, the importance of respecting and supporting Aboriginal community ownership and control of solutions, partnership building, culturally appropriate interventions, importance of capacity building in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, diversity and recognising the need to respond to a complex array of issues in urban, rural and remote settings.

Read the report or go to the NIDAC website to view the submissions.

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International News and Media

‘Living with FASD 2013 Summit’ – 12 Day Online Teleseminar for Families Living with FASD

Starts today: The teleseminar aims to provide practical strategies on a range of issues and involves 22 speakers from 7 countries, 15 of whom have raised children with FASD and have professional careers in the area of FASD. Seminars can be purchased online.

For more information and to register 

New Book with Alcohol and Pregnancy Advice is Deeply Flawed and Harmful

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) is outraged by Emily Oster’s deeply flawed and harmful advice about alcohol and pregnancy in her book, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know.  In a Wall Street Journal article promoting the book, she not only falsely claims that drinking wine during pregnancy is fine, she actively encourages pregnant women to drink alcohol, writing, “the evidence overwhelmingly shows that light drinking is fine.”  Read NOFAS response 

Read a response from The Arc, an American organisation supporting people with FASD.

Canadian Bar Association FASD Resolution 2013 – Accommodating the Disability of FASD to Improve Access to Justice

This resolution, passed at the 2013 AGM, dates back to action first taken in 2010 when the federal Minister of Justice agreed to make the impact of FASD on the criminal justice system a priority issue. Now, the Canadian Bar Association urges the federal government to amend the Criminal Code and other legislation to take account of the following principles:

•    The legal definition of FASD
•    Enable powers to order assessments
•    Recognise FASD as a mitigating factor
•    Enable judges to authorise an external support order
•    Duty to accommodate FASD as a disability when providing correctional services.

Read the resolution

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Latest Research

Changes in Alcohol Consumption in Pregnant Australian Women between 2007 and 2011
CM Cameron, TM Davey, E Kendall, A Wilson and RJ McClure, Medical Journal of Australia 2013; 199 (5): 355-357, doi: 10.5694/mja12.11723.

More than 2700 pregnant women in maternity hospitals in Logan, Beaudesert, Gold Coast and Tweed health districts were studied for the Griffith Study of Population Health. The study showed a steady and statistically significant decline in the proportion of women who reported drinking alcohol during pregnancy from 2007 to 2011. However, high-risk drinking patterns, either during or after the first trimester did not change over the 5 years of the study. The authors concluded that to further reduce these levels, we need broad public health messages for the general population and localised strategies for high-risk subpopulations. Read more 

Involving Consumers and the Community in the Development of a Diagnostic Instrument for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Australia
HM Jones, A McKenzie, S Miers, E Russell, RE Watkins, JM Payne, L Hayes, M Carter, H D’Antoine, J Latimer, A Wilkins, RC Mutch, L Burns, JP Fitzpatrick, J Halliday, CM O’Leary, EJ Elliott, C Bower, Health Research Policy Systems, 2013 Jul 30;11:26. doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-11-26.

The successful involvement of consumers and the community in the FASD Project can be attributed to active consumer and community participation, which included continued involvement throughout the project, funding of participation activities, and an understanding of the various contributions by the Collaboration members. Read more 

Canadian Children and Youth in Care: The Cost of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
S Popova, S Lange, L Burd, J Rehm, Child and Youth Forum, August 2013

The study findings can be used to demonstrate the substantial economic burden that FASD places on the child welfare system. The study found that the highest overall cost (29.5 to 101.1 million CND) was for 11-15 year olds. Read more 

The Association of Mild, Moderate, and Binge Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Child Neuropsychological Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis
AL Flak, S Su, J Bertrand, CH Denny, US Kesmodel, ME Cogswell, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013; [epub ahead of date].

The authors conducted a meta-analysis of multiple studies of women’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy and its impact on the developing fetus. The research concluded that binge drinking during pregnancy was associated with the child having problems with cognition, moderate drinking during pregnancy was directly linked to behavioural problems. The author’s found no significant impact on academic performance or language development. Read more  

An Examination of the Social Determinants of Health as Factors Related to Health, Healing and Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in a Northern Context – The Brightening Our Home Fires Project, Northwest Territories, Canada
D Badry, A Wight Felske, Int J Circumpolar Health 2013, 72: 21140

The Brightening Our Home Fires (BOHF) project was conceptualized as an exploratory project to examine the issue of the prevention of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) from a women’s health perspective in the Northwest Territories (NT). The project drew participants from four communities representing Dene and Inuit culture. The qualitative data analysis offered themes of importance to women’s health in the north including: land and tradition; housing; poverty; food; family; health, mental health and trauma, and travel. Photovoice provides a non-threatening way to engage in dialogue on complex health and social issues. Read more 

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: As Prevalent as Autism?
S Westrup, Educational Psychology in Practice: Theory, Research and Practice in Educational Psychology, published online 2 August 2013, DOI: 10.1080/02667363.2013.815114

In an extensive search of electronic databases, the author is surprised to find that no articles were found which specifically examined the role of the Educational Psychologist in connection with FASD. It is suggested that Educational Psychologists are well-placed to help schools clarify and meet the needs of children with FASD to improve the life outcomes for children with FASD and minimise the risk of secondary disabilities. Read more

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Upcoming Events

For a full listing of upcoming events please go to NOFASD News & Events  

Don’t forget to register for the Australasian FASD Conference and to check out the pre-conference afternoon and dinner we have planned especially for parents and carers. Please contact us if you require further information.
Also of interest this month is the Australian Association of Special Education National Conference, taking place in Adelaide from September 29 – 1 October 2013. Professor Barry Carpenter will be a keynote speaker at the event. Professor Carpenter is the author of Educating Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and will release another book in 2013 entitled Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

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NOFASD Australia is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Health System Capacity Development Fund.

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1300 306 238
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PO Box 206, Normanville , SA 5204

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