'I chose to learn about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder to understand how I might be able to support affected children and families.'
Christine Brooks, one of Carey Donvale’s longest-serving staff members, was given the opportunity to teach in the remote Indigenous community of Robinson River in 2012. Carey has a well-established relationship with this community, and Christine describes the experience as life-changing.
After returning to Carey she inquired about the possibility of a Robinson River child studying at Carey for a term, and in 2014, a young Indigenous girl moved into Christine’s home and attended Carey Donvale. This young girl is currently studying at Worawa Aboriginal College in Healesville.
Through Christine’s connections with Indigenous communities, she became acutely aware of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), a condition that results in lifelong physical and mental impairments due to prenatal alcohol exposure. She discovered that FASD is not just an Indigenous issue, but one that affects children wherever alcohol is part of the social culture.
It is estimated that there is one child with FASD in every Australian classroom, and as a passionate educator and Board Member of NOFASD Australia (the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), it’s Christine’s mission to build more understanding and empathy around the challenges of identifying and managing FASD, particularly in the classroom.