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Latest rffada and FASD News

Rffada May Newsletter

More submissions needed for the FASD Inquiry from the Northern Territory and other states/territories.

There has been an increase in submissions to the House Standing Committee for Social Policy and Legal Affairs that thank you to those organisations and individuals who have prepared a submission. It is not a fait accompli that the team will visit the NT however there is a possibility of teleconferencing with key organisations and individuals. But to do this the Inquiry needs to see that FASD is a problem and the only way they can do that is by the number of submissions received in response to the Inquiry. It’s not over yet – please prepare a submission and lodge it with the Inquiry team. It only needs to be an email with dot points. The email address of the Inquiry is spla.reps [at] aph [dot] gov [dot] au

Professor Elizabeth Elliott

Elizabeth ElliotThe rffada would like to congratulate Professor Elizabeth Elliot on the recent profile piece published in the May 5 issue of the Lancet.

To find out more about Elizabeth’s work, visit the links below.

Information about Elizabeth Elliott at the University of Sydney

The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit website

About the Lililwan Project

Alarm at ADHD Drug Use

Prescriptions for drugs to treat hyperactivity have soared in a decade with more than 100,000 Kiwi kids now on medication.

This powerful story is from Patrick McGee from The Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign

Last Thursday I participated in a meeting at which representatives of Northern Territory Department of Corrections and Aged and Disability discussed a number of people they jointly manage. I was present to discuss the person incarcerated in the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (ASCC) for whom I am joint guardian with the NT Public and who has a profound Intellectual Disability. I raised the issue of the ASCC Staff mechanically restraining the young Aboriginal man by belting him into a chair and then chemically restraining him. I only found out about this practice at a recent conciliation hearing for a complaint I have made in the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission - no representatives of either department felt the need to have raised this practice with the guardian prior to this hearing. The purpose of this practice is to intervene when the young Aboriginal man exhibits behaviours of concern. Specifically it is used when he bangs his head on hard surfaces; injuring himself, sometimes quite severely. The intervention is designed to keep him, and others, safe. It seems it can take up to half a dozen prisons officers to get him into a chair, into which he is then belted. The young Aboriginal man then becomes so distressed that medical personnel have to chemically restrain him whilst he is belted into the chair. The chemical restraint is in the form of an injection that makes the young man go to sleep. The ASCC assured me that this practice is a last resort practice. They informed me that last time it occurred was in February 2012. They informed me that they sought the advice of the Victorian Office of the Senior Practitioner in the development of this response. The ASCC have now used this last resort practice three times with the young man.

The ASCC designed this specific behaviour management protocol, which they had shared with SOS Medical Services and the Northern Territory Aged and Disability Services, but failed to share with the guardians. When questioned why the ASCC had failed to share the document with the guardian the ASCC management stated that the protocol is an internal ASCC document and they are not compelled to share it with anyone although they now indicated that they will provide the protocol to the guardians. The young Aboriginal man’s head banging is clearly a sign of extreme distress and anxiety and should be addressed as such. Were the young Aboriginal man receiving appropriate support in a safe and secure disability unit run by trained disability workers it is unlikely that he would have resorted to this self-injurious behavior or that the disability unit would have to take such extraordinary restraining measures. The fact that the ASCC has defended this practice to the guardian (and NT Aged and Disability remained silent) underlines the importance and purpose of the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign, that is:

Prisons are not the place for people with cognitive and psychiatric disabilities who commit crimes or are a risk of harm to others.

I (Patrick) intend to write to the Northern Territory Public Guardian and Minister for Health — Mr Kon Vatskalis, the Minister for Corrections — Mr Francis McCarthy, the Attorney General — Mr Daniel Knight and Chief Minister — Mr Paul Henderson asking how, in 2012, this practice can be condoned. If you wish to write to these people expressing your concern here is a list of their email addresses — I encourage you to do so.

  • The Hon. Paul Henderson — Chief Minister: Chief.Minister [at] nt.gov.au
  • The Hon. Kon Vatskalis — Minister for Health: minister.vatskalis [at] nt.gov.au
  • The Hon. Daniel Knight — Attorney General: minister.knight [at] nt.gov.au
  • The Hon. Francis McCarthy — Minister for Corrections: minister.gmccarthy [at] nt.gov.au

Special court for mentally ill

The West Australian, Page 5 19-May-12

A specialist court will be set up to deal with mentally ill offenders under a $5 million, two-year project designed to divert people from jail and into treatment. Details of the project, which is based on recommendations from the WA Law Reform Commission three years ago and will operate along similar lines to the successful drug court, will be revealed by Mental Health Minister Helen Morton today.

Alcohol warning labels shunned by industry despite research

Sydney Morning Herald, Page 6 24-May-12

THE alcohol industry is putting booze before babies by making false and misleading claims to a parliamentary inquiry into fetal alcohol

2012 NIDAC Conference: Beyond 2012: Leading the Way to Action

6th- 8th June, 2012, Fremantle, WA — This conference will include the Launch of the NIDAC Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Position Paper.

Australian Parliamentary Library item on Alcohol Warning Labelling

The Australian Parliamentary Library has published an information paper with an overview of the evidence for warning labels on alcohol packaging.

FASD being considered by DSM-5 reviewers

Comment is being sought before 15th June on a proposal for the inclusion of FASD in the DSM-5. What is proposed is for ‘Neuro-behavioural Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure’ to include in Section 111 – for further study.

A group of FASD experts here and overseas have been discussing the pros and cons before sending in comments.

New alcohol & pregnancy film for Midwives

NOFAS-UK announces the release of the film – "NO ALCOHOL NO RISK – FASD Information for Midwives".

This 26 minute film explains the risks of drinking alcohol in pregnancy while following a birth mother with a child with suspected FASD, a midwife and a pregnant woman who is drinking low levels of alcohol.

To view the film online, go to www.nofas-uk.org, section "Alcohol in pregnancy – training for midwives"

Second EUFASD Conference

The conference website is now open for submission of abstracts for the Second European FASD Conference to be held in Barcelona 21–24 October 2012. Visit the conference website for further information and early-bird registration. www.secondeufasdconference.com

Rethinking the role of video games

Playing video games isn't often seen as the healthiest pastime for young people, but a new educational game is helping re-train the brains of students with FASD, a University of Alberta professor says. Jacqueline Pei, a registered psychologist who specializes in FASD, is looking into how a computer program called Caribbean Quest can improve the cognitive function of people with the condition. Video game helps students with fetal alcohol disorder

ADHD drugs 'experimental'

Herald Sun, Page 17 26-May-12 - 12:00

THE number of prescriptions to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has more than doubled across Australia in less than a decade. They also argue there is no long-term proof that the drugs work.

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