AADDM18 Save the Date

Join us for the Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine Conference.

Date: September 6-7, 2018
Venue: Aerial Function Centre, UTS , Broadway Sydney

AADDM Position Statement: The Importance of Physical and Mental Health for People with intellectual Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System

The AADDM Position Statement, The Importance of Physical and Mental Health for People with intellectual Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System, was released in May 2017. Dr Angus Buchanan, President Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID), recently indicated that ASID was endorsing the position statement. He commented that it was an “excellent position statement”.

In recognition that more than half of the people in the criminal justice system had a coexisting mental health problem, AADDM recommends a timely review by medical practitioners with access to advice from specialists in ID to determine appropriate treatment and management for anyone suspected to have a mental health problem. Furthermore, for any people with challenging behaviours, including all people for whom restrictive practices might be considered for safety, a positive behaviour support plan should be implemented under the guidance of a professional trained in developing positive behaviour support plans.

Please click here to view the position statement.

AADDM Position Statement released

AAADM has released a new position statement – The Importance of Physical and Mental Health for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System. This position statement highlights that people with intellectual disability (ID) often experience psychosocial disadvantage and are significantly overrepresented within the Australian criminal justice system and have significantly higher rates of mental and physical health conditions that may not have been diagnosed or treated. A number of recommendations are made in the position statement that are intended to improve support for people with ID in the criminal justice system.

Please click here to view the position statement.

Associate Professor Lynette Lee is the Winner of the Bob Davis Award in 2017

Associate Professor Lynette Lee MBBS MSc Health Policy PhD FACRM FAFRM(RACP) FRACMA FPFMANZCA

As one of eight people present at the very first meeting of what was to become AADDM, Associate Professor Lynette Lee has been championing the needs of people with Intellectual Disability (ID) for probably more years than she cares to admit. She has held senior roles in medical administration, clinical rehabilitation medicine, professional development and training, academics and in the disability sector, all the while pursuing improved healthcare for people with ID.  Lyn was recently awarded her PhD for research on Demand planning for specialist medical services for adults with Intellectual Disability in NSW 2003 – 2043.

Lyn, with the support of a small band of rehabilitation physician colleagues developed the curriculum in the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine on Intellectual Disability and the first accredited training position solely in a Developmental Disability Service.

Recognising early on the need to contribute to the growing research interest Lyn developed a health assessment tool which she then used in her own database. Lyn has extensively investigated and reported on the health of people with ID who are living in the general community, ageing or living in institutions, and this has been used to positively influence health policy in New South Wales.

Lyn- we thank you for your tireless efforts as an advocate and clinician working to improve the health of people with Intellectual Disability.

For more information on the Bob Davis Award, please click here.

Vale Helen McConaghy FRANZCP ( nee Molony); 09/12/1930 – 16/01/2017

AADDM acknowledges the substantial contribution to the mental health and wellbeing of people with intellectual disability by the late Dr Helen Molony. Helen was a true pioneer of intellectual disability health services, and leaves a substantial legacy of service to people with intellectual disability, their families and mental health professionals.

Substantial mortality gap remains for people with intellectual disability compared to the general population

A recently published study by Trollor et al, 2017, (http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/2/e013489) confirms that substantial health inequities remain for people with intellectual disability (ID). In a large population based cohort study in NSW that included 42 204 people with ID, median age of death of people with ID was 54 years, compared to 81 years in the general population, with 38% being due to potentially treatable conditions. Respiratory and neurological causes of death were particularly common, with the overall comparable mortality figure of 1.3.

This study is ground breaking in Australia given its size and that it systematically examines mortality in a large population of people with ID who use disability services. Although there are limitations to the study, the policy implications for health and disability services are undeniable. Whole of system responses are urgently required to address existing barriers to prevention, early detection and treatment of health conditions experienced by people with ID.

Please see the following 730 Report, aired on the ABC on February 7, 2017 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-08/study-finds-intellectually-disabled-two-times-preventable-death/8248772, and NSW Council for Intellectual Disability to read more about their efforts to improve the health of people with ID (http://www.nswcid.org.au/).

Dr Helen Beange Awarded the Inaugural Honorary Life Membership

Dr Helen Beange AM has been awarded the inaugural Honorary Life Membership AADDM in 2016 as a retired member who continues to actively support the goals and aims of AADDM.

Helen was a pioneer in the healthcare of people with intellectual and developmental disability (ID) and continues to highlight significant health disparities. She demonstrated that the health of people with ID was poorer than the general community by undertaking population surveys that showed high rates of undiagnosed health conditions. Helen cofounded AADDM and Health SIRG, IASSID, 2 organisations dedicated to improving the health of people with ID.


Dr Margaret Kyrkou is the Winner of the Bob Davis Award in 2016

Dr Margaret Kyrkou MBBS FRACGP PhD OAM was awarded the Bob Davis Award in 2016 for substantial contributions to the healthcare of people with intellectual disabilities. Margaret has dedicated her professional life to teaching, research, advocacy and providing specialised clinical care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Margaret’s research in the use of intranasal midazolam in prolonged seizures and in menstruation and puberty in young women with Down Syndrome has led to significant changes in clinical practice. She has delivered clinical services to rural South Australia, managed programs that provided support to students with significant disabilities within educational settings, developed standardised seizure management protocols through the use of intranasal midazolam and for the past 10 years worked in the Centre for Disability Health providing care to children and young adults with the most complex health needs and challenging behaviour not able to be managed elsewhere.

Margaret’s expertise in health care of children and adults with ID has led to teaching and other professional roles in Australia and internationally. For 20 years she has lectured at Flinders University, South Australia and has held an adjunct professorial post at Simon Fraser University Canada. Margaret has held many professional roles, participated in numerous committees as both parent and professional and delivered national and international conference presentations.

Margaret is an extremely worthy winner of the 2016 Bob Davis Award for substantial contributions to healthcare of people with intellectual disability in Australia.

For more information on the Bob Davis Award, please click here.


Global Partnerships in Intellectual Disability Health Symposium – August 22, 2016

With so many international experts and leaders in the field of Developmental / Intellectual Disability in Australia for the IASSID Congress in Melbourne, we thought we would invite some to Sydney before they return home for a Symposium.

This symposium is intended for researchers, clinical practitioners, policy writers and managers and will also benefit those working with people with intellectual disability in the community.

Presenters include:

  • Prof. Helene Oullette Kuntz
  • Prof. Ted Brown
  • Dr Laurence Taggart

Find out more here.