Foetal al­co­hol funds tar­get Pil­bara kids

Pilbara News - - News - Heather McNeill

■ More chil­dren in the Pil­bara will be as­sessed for foetal al­co­hol spec­trum dis­or­der and lo­cal doc­tors will re­ceive ad­di­tional di­ag­nos­tic sup­port through a num­ber of pro­grams be­ing rolled out this year.

De­spite a lack of data to show how com­mon the dis­or­der is in the Pil­bara, health pro­fes­sion­als be­lieve it to be prom­i­nent and if left un­di­ag­nosed it can have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions on a child’s de­vel­op­ment.

Youth In­volve­ment Coun­cil chair­woman Glo­ria Ja­cob said the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion was un­ac­cept­able and sup­ported the need for more re­sources.

Ms Ja­cob said many FASD chil­dren went un­di­ag­nosed and as a re­sult strug­gled with their learn­ing and be­hav­iour.

With $195,000 in State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing an­nounced last month to look at the con­nec­tion be­tween youth crime and FASD and a num­ber of Pil­bara-based pro­grams be­ing es­tab­lished by the Telethon Kids In­sti­tute, long-awaited ad­di­tional sup­port will soon be avail­able in the re­gion.

Telethon Kids In­sti­tute pae­di­a­tri­cian James Fitz­patrick said multi-dis­ci­plinary teams would visit the Pil­bara regularly to con­duct ad­di­tional di­ag­nos­tic clin­ics.

Dr Fitz­patrick said the clin­ics would work closely with the WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice and Abo­rig­i­nal Med­i­cal Ser­vices which al­ready holds FASD di­ag­no­sis and sup­port ser­vices in the re­gion.

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