Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Project

Given one year of funding, the Anyinginyi FASD Project got underway in September, 2011, with the employment of a Co-ordinator. Subsequently, a local Aboriginal Project Officer began work in November, 2011.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term describing a range of effects that can occur in an individual who has been exposed to alcohol during pregnancy.  The effects include physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities with possible life-long implications.  Some of the consequences of FASD include brain damage, birth defects, poor growth, developmental delay, difficulty hearing, difficulty sleeping, problems with vision, high levels of activity, difficulty remembering, short attention span, language and speech deficits, low IQ, problems with abstract thinking, poor judgement, social and behavioural problems, and difficulty forming and maintaining relationships.

The Project mandate has been to raise awareness, educate, prevent and support.  The initial focus has been two fold:

  • To identify and partner/network with existing services and programmes; and
  • To develop a library of resources which can continue to be used by the community beyond the lifetime of the Project.

Some of the activities and strategies implemented so far include:

  • The development of Pregnancy Pamper Packs, currently being distributed via health professionals to all pregnant women with the aim of providing information and support to encourage them not to drink alcohol;
  • The creation of a hip hop song with local young people, called “Strong Baby, Strong Life!”, see link below;
  • The adoption of warning signage in local licensed premises;
  • Various education and prevention sessions with different community groups; and,
  • Ongoing collection of resources and research.

The second phase of the FASD Project is planned to consolidate and build on community knowledge and ownership of the FASD issues, as well as support of individuals, families and services dealing with FASD.

Earlier in 2012, Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, a team of Melbourne-based artists who “celebrate the fusion of traditional Indigenous culture and hip hop” [IHHP website] and travel throughout Australia working with groups, facilitating dance and music workshops and encouraging community self expression, came to Tennant Creek to assist the FASD team to produce a hip hop video on FASD. IHHP sent three artists to Tennant Creek: Dion Brownfield, Jerome Farah and Genelle Harris.  Their brief was to work with a group of local young people to produce a song on the theme of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, to be used as a resource in the community.

The workshop took place over two days (16th and 17th February) at the Youth Linx facility.  Six senior students from Barkly College were involved, and both the Project Officer (a teenager) and the Project Co-ordinator of the FASD Project were also participants.

The most tangible outcome was the song and video of the group performance (below).  The video was posted onto Youtube within two days, and has proved to be extremely popular.  DVDs are also being distributed, and inquiries have come from people across Australia, as a result of the Youtube video. There has been over 2000 hits on Youtube and the video has even been viewed in Parliament.

There is now a good working relationship with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects, with the possibility of another collaborative project later in the year.

AHAC would like to extend a huge thank you to IHHP and to the students that helped to make this possible.

Recently, Adele worked to create a ten-minute compilation of interviews with stakeholders/community leaders both within and outside Anyinginyi, all interspersed with the Strong Baby, Strong Life song.

The background was to a) get as much feedback as possible from a cross-section of people, talking about both the Project and the perceived needs in the community; b) for a record/evaluation of the Project’s first year of operation; c) as a resource in itself for promotional/informational purposes.

Click below to view the video.