Nofasd Australia - The Loop - Issue #41

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FASD Priorities in Australia

The Health Department will shortly be collaborating with stakeholders in FASD to determine the best implementation of the 2016 budget measure Taking More Action to Prevent FASD.

NOFASD Australia has prepared a summary of current gaps, issues, recommended steps and priorities. This has been summarised below. However, if our network members and supporters are aware of other points which should be included – please email NOFASD on [email protected] or call 1 300 306 238 by Wednesday, 30 November, 2016.

FASD Priorities in Australia


  • 1.We fully support James Fitzpatrick in his call to the government for the following:
  • a)The NDIS must embrace FASD as one of its disabilities and recognise the impairments experienced by those living with FASD so that they receive adequate therapy & support.
  • b)The Medical Benefits Scheme must be usedto facilitate diagnosis & treatment just as it is for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • c)Evidenced based programs must be scaled up to make FASD history.
  • 2.The Australian approach to FASD needs to be coordinated and we need to ensure we are all working towards a common goal – the needs of individuals living with FASD and those who support them must be at the centre of the priorities for a strategic, national response to FASD.
  • 3.FASD is a permanent, life-long brain injury. The breadth of FASD’s effects across an affected individual’s life means that agencies, professionals, communities and families need to be working together to achieve change.
  • 4.We recognise that the greatest return will come from prioritising prevention but to reduce the impact of FASD it is also important to recognise that successful prevention will require taking a life-course approach and recognising that the needs and strengths of families will change over time; for example, babies born with FASD will often become parents themselves. To be successful those who are more vulnerable will require more resources.
  • 5.FASD is still not being addressed in policy documents where it should be receiving attention. The failure to acknowledge and have a conversation about FASD increases the stigma, lack of awareness and contributes to ineffective responses.
  • 6.The ongoing lack of capacity for diagnosing FASD – There is a long waiting list for existing multidisciplinary teams and there are no teams in SA, Vic or Tasmania.
  • 7.We currently have no way of determining how many Australians in the wider community are affected by FASD – hiding FASD within Autism, ADHD and other diagnoses is not helpful for determining where prevention resources or increased diagnostic capacity need to be focussed.
  • 8.There is currently no screening for children entering the child protection system when there is known or suspected maternal drug and alcohol issues – this sets both foster families and the child up for failure and deprives birth families of the support they need to help prevent further alcohol exposed pregnancies.
  • 9.The need for a collaborative project to develop a resource for teachers, to improve their knowledge and practice regarding FASD as already exists for Autism.
  • 10.The need to ensure that FASD is embedded into core training for all health/allied health, education, justice (police, custodial, courts) and community sector and service professionals.
  • 11.The importance of ensuring that service providers currently receiving funding under the FASD Strategy are FASD informed and providing services through a FASD lens?
  • 12.Recognition that being FASD informed requires collaboration at community level and for agencies to work more closely together to ensure that models of service are appropriate for FASD affected individuals, parents and carers.
  • 13.There are currently very limited diagnostic services for adults who suspect they have FASD (ARBIAS in NSW & Vic) or service providers adequately trained to provide treatment and/or support for adults with FASD plus AOD/mental health issues or support for parents who may have FASD themselves.
  • 14.The uptake and provision of evidence based therapies for children and adults with FASD.
  • 15.That specialist support services, like supported living or respite care, are easily accessible and FASD informed.



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