October 30, 2020
Fetal alcohol syndrome close to epidemic
A University of Otago researcher says Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is disproportionately affecting Māori in epidemic proportions.
Clinical neuropsychologist Sarah Goldsbury from Ngāti Porou and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti has received a Clinical Research Training Fellowship worth $260,000 from the Health Research Council to carry out research on Māori whānau experiences of neuropsychological assessment for FASD.
Ms Goldsbury is a working clinician based in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne but travels throughout the country to carry out neuropsychological assessments for children and youth in temporary and permanent care and Youth Court.
She says FASD is a complex disability that many do not understand well, and there is a clear lack of systemic supports in Aotearoa to both identify and support those with it.
Those with FASD are at risk of issues such as secondary mental health problems, trouble with the law, inappropriate sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug use, and are some of the most vulnerable members of the community.
Her research will actively seek to integrate a Māori world view in a traditionally Western assessment process, with an aim to be representative and inclusive of whānau Māori.
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