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Illustration of teacher and students with 'Learning with FASD' logo on right

Facts & figures

  • 2-5% of the general population is affected by FASD
  • 15,000 number of babies that could be born with FASD in Australia each year
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Introducing Learning with FASD

29 March 2022
Helping educators understand and support students with FASD in Australian primary schools

Researchers at the University of Sydney's Matilda Centre have launched 'Learning with FASD' to assist primary school teaching and support staff to understand and support children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in Australian schools.

FASD is a term used to describe the neurodevelopmental, physical, psychological, and behavioural impairments caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. This lifelong disability is estimated to affect between 2% and 5% of the general population, meaning as many as 15,000 babies could be born with FASD in Australia each year. To put this in perspective, this is more than the number of babies born with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, Spina Bifida or Cerebral Palsy.

FASD is under-recognised and often goes undiagnosed
Professor Maree Teesson

Early diagnosis and appropriate intervention can greatly reduce the risk of difficulties associated with FASD, such as a disrupted school experience, mental health issues, contact with the justice system, and harmful substance use. However, in Australia, "FASD is under-recognised and often goes undiagnosed," says Professor Maree Teesson, Director of the University of Sydney's Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use.

The Australian Government Department of Health funded researchers at the Matilda Centre to build a website providing evidence-based resources and tools to help primary school teaching and support staff to understand and support students with FASD in Australian primary schools.

"We consulted with primary school education staff and experts in FASD and education to find out what they need and to identify priority areas for resource development," explains Project Supervisor Dr Louise Mewton.

Priority areas identified for resource development

1

Resources that raise awareness and understanding of FASD and its impacts on learning .

2

Accessible high-quality resources and tools that provide strategies for educators to support ongoing learning.

3

Guidance on how to engage with parents, caregivers, and families of students with FASD.

The website saves educators much needed time by housing trusted, evidence-based resources all in one place. It currentlly houses a selection of resources for primary school education staff on understanding FASD, implementing classroom strategies to support learning, and engaging with parents, caregivers, and families of students with FASD.

Professor Elizabeth Elliott

Professor Elizabeth Elliott says that families in her FASD clinic want better recognition of FASD in schools.

Professor Elizabeth Elliott, world-renowned FASD researcher and paediatrician at the University of Sydney, welcomes the launch of the Learning with FASD website, "families in my FASD clinic want better recognition of FASD in schools".

Families in my FASD clinic want better recognition of FASD in schools.
Professor Elizabeth Elliott

"This new evidence-based resource will be invaluable for primary school educators to help them better support children with FASD in schools across Australia and reduce the impact of learning and behavioural difficulties associated with FASD".

The Learning with FASD website will be officially launched via a digital launch event on Wednesday 6 April 12.30-1.30PM AEST.

Join our 'Digital Launch' on Zoom

Learning with FASD logo
The Learning with FASD website will be launched via a digital launch event on Wednesday 6 April 12.30-1.30PM AEST.
Register today

DISCLAIMER

The Learning with FASD project received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

Caitlin Ward

Research Communications Specialist
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  • Level 6 Jane Foss Russell Building G02

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