Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day, Bendigo 2019

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Room 2.51 Health Sciences Building

La Trobe University

Sharon Street

Flora Hill, Bendigo, VIC 3551


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Event description


International FASD Awareness Day 2019

This event is run as a part of International FASD Awareness Month and aims to raise awareness of FASD in Bendigo and the surrounding region.


12:00pm Lunch

12:30pm International Guest Speaker Professor Dorothy Badry: "Responding to FASD: Insights from Canada"

1:30pm Current work on FASD in Victoria: The Victorian FASD Special Interest Group

2:15pm Afternoon tea

2:30pm Participatory Roundtable- Responding to FASD in Victoria: What are the challenges and opportunities?

4:00pm Close

What is FASD?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a life-long condition caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. It is characterised by a range of neurological and physical impairments that can affect cognition, day to day functioning, learning and behaviour and can have adverse effects on an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.

The international prevalence of FASD is between 2-5%, which means that FASD is more common than other well-known conditions such as Autism, Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida. However, it is a condition that has been poorly understood historically and which has only recently emerged as a priority concern in Australia. As a result, there are inconsistencies in how FASD is identified, managed, prevented, and understood, leading to widespread practice differences. Professionals can sometimes be reluctant to consider or engage with FASD because of the concern of inducing stigma, but this issue is not substantiated by research, nor is it a factor in patient stories.

Without appropriate support, people with FASD are at high risk of adverse psychosocial outcomes including poor mental health, involvement with the justice system and early disengagement from the education system. While many professionals are broadly aware that alcohol use and pregnancy can constitute health risks, most have received no formal or professional training on this topic.

This event will provide much needed information to help bridge this knowledge gap.

International Guest Speaker Professor Dorothy Badry, University of Calgary

Professor Dorothy Badry is a Professor of Social Work, University of Calgary, Canada and is the Child Welfare Research Lead with the CanFASD Research Network. She is internationally recognised for her research on FASD, from prevention to intervention. Her research has had a specific focus on FASD child welfare and child protection, the experiences of birth mothers and families of children with FASD, adults with FASD and homelessness, FASD and stigma and disability advocacy. Professor Badry’s research has been instrumental in the development of programs that have led to increased professional knowledge of FASD and support for parents/carers in Canada.

FASD in Victoria: Short presentations by Victorian FASD Special Interest Group (VIC FASD SIG) members

The VIC FASD SIG was developed in late 2017 to provide an opportunity for professionals, families and researchers to connect and collaborate to build capacity to prevent, diagnose, understand and respond to FASD in Victoria. VIC FASD SIG members will provide a number of short presentations about their work on FASD in Victoria. This will include:

The Victorian FASD Special Interest Group-Dr Kerryn Bagley, Chair of the VIC FASD SIG, Lecturer in Social Work at La Trobe University Bendigo

The AQUA study, Asking Questions about Alcohol in Pregnancy- Professor Jane Halliday and Ms Evi Muggli, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

The VicFAS pilot project- Dr Katrina Harris and Ms Prue Walker, Monash Children’s Hospital

The Goulburn Valley Health FASD Diagnostic Clinic- Ms Kim Cowen, FASD Clinic Coordinator, Goulburn Valley Health

For more information on The VIC FASD SIG, go to:

FASD Participatory Roundtable

The FASD roundtable is an opportunity for professionals, parents and carers from Bendigo and surrounding areas to come together and discuss how to best respond to FASD in Victoria. It aims to:
1. Ascertain challenges that professionals face in responding to FASD in Victoria

2. Identify gaps in policy and service provision for FASD

3. Ascertain a parent and carer perspective on service provision for FASD

4. Identify opportunities for action

Who should attend:

Professionals accross sectors including: Health, Allied Health, Community and Human Services, Child Protection, Justice, Education, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, Early Intervention, Disability.

Parents, Carers and People with a lived experince of FASD

Researchers and Academics

This event is supported by the Violet Vines Marshman Initiative, La Trobe University and the Victorian FASD Special Interest Group.

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Date and Time


Room 2.51 Health Sciences Building

La Trobe University

Sharon Street

Flora Hill, Bendigo, VIC 3551


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