Yapatjarrathati Projects

Yapatjarrathatimeansto get wellin Kalkadoon.

Kalkadoon Elders generously gifted us the use of this word for these research projects developed with, and for, their communities.

What are the projects?

The Yapatjarrathati team co-create solutions to support fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the rural and remote regions of North West Queensland.

Children in remote areas often go undiagnosed, or potentially wait up to three years for paediatric neurodevelopmental assessment. There was a pressing need for a locally accessible and culturally responsive approach to screening, assessing and supporting FASD.

The genuine co-design with local Elders, Aboriginal health workers and community members led to an Australian first—a model of care that implements the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD flexibly, with Aboriginal health workers holistically assessing neurodevelopment in primary care and guiding families quickly to support pathways.

What is the model?

A three-part “care journey” describes the help-seeking and support paths for families.

1. Support (pathways of care)

We don’t need to wait for a clinical diagnosis to start a child on a support trajectory.

Practitioners and families come together to ask: How do we best support this child with the information we have, right now?

Simple, culturally-informed guidelines direct the start of the journey.

2. Assess (the Tracking Cube)

The Tracking Cube is a six-tiered assessment that helps primary healthcare providers —including GPs, Aboriginal health workers, nurses and allied health practitioners—make decisions about screening, identifying and supporting children whose neurodevelopment is not-on-track.

Based on the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD, the Tracking Cube uses a community-created dreamtime story and local art to explain the healthcare journey to families.

Healthcare providers can unpack metaphors hidden within the narrative of the story, explaining challenging health concepts in a way that is memorable.

The story and art therefore become a tool to facilitate feedback and intervention for children throughout the child’s healthcare journey.

3. Diagnose (clinical decision-making)

With appropriate support, GPs and their healthcare teams can play a greater role in diagnosing FASD—saving families the cost, time and difficulty of travelling to urban specialists.

A range of professionals come together to triage, progress, and diagnose patient cases, with telehealth support from neurodevelopmental specialists as needed.

Reports and publications

Read more about the Yapatjarrathati Projects

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Expansion of FASD Services in Queensland: Establishing Diagnostic Services in Remote Communities

  • Download the final report for the Queensland Department of Health

Protocol for the Yapatjarrathati Project: A Mixed-Method Implementation Trial of a Tiered Assessment Process for Identifying Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in a Remote Australian Community

  • Read the paper at BioMedCentral

Outcomes and needs of health and education professionals following fetal alcohol spectrum disorder specific training

  • Read the abstract/paper at Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health

Yarning about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: outcomes of a community-based workshop

  • Read the abstract/access the paper at ScienceDirect

Integrating cultural considerations and developmental screening into an Australian First Nations Child Health Check

  • Read abstract/access paper at the Australian Journal of Public Health

Project Team

Community Advisory Group

Aunty Karen West
Aunty Joan Marshall
Aunty Betty Jack
Aunty Evelyn Neade
Aunty Topsy Rose
Aunty Julianne George
Aunty Edna Punch
Ms Kerry Major

Gidgee Healing practitioners

Dr Marjad Page
Ms Sarah Horton
Ms Theresa McDonald
Dr Michelle Parker-Tomlin
Ms Venessa McDonald
Ms Shirley Dawson
Ms Veronica Sammon
Ms Kara Ruden
Mr John Bathern
Ms Jayde Yorkston
Mr Chris Doyle
Ms Bridget Greathead
Ms Grace Myatt

Partner Organisations

Funding Partners