3DN October Seminar: Beth Turner, Dr. Kitty-Rose Foley, Kate Chitty & Dr. Adrian Davis

12.00 PM – Beth Turner.
What Are Australia’s Nurses Taught about Intellectual Disability? Results from a National Curriculum Audit

Australians with an intellectual disability (ID) experience a higher burden of disease and poorer health outcomes compared to the general population.  As the largest health professional group in Australia, nurses play an important role in the delivery of health care services to people with an ID. However, the nursing profession's ability to deliver appropriate and timely health care to this population is hindered by the lack of education in ID health (IDH) and ID mental health (IDMH). We are conducting a five phase project that aims to develop and implement a national training framework for registered nurses in the area of IDH and IDMH across the tertiary education sector. Phase one of the project, a national audit of registered nursing curriculum is described here. This phase aims to determine how nursing schools are currently preparing registered nursing graduates to provide care to people with an intellectual disability (ID). 34 Nursing Schools currently accredited to provide a registered nursing program were invited to participate in the audit. Data from telephone and online audit surveys were collected and analysed using both descriptive and content analysis. Overall content in IDH and IDMH was limited, and varied between nursing schools. Results will be presented and discussed in detail including: the amount of ID content currently taught, the nature of the content, and who teaches. A national ID training framework will help to better prepare nursing trainees to meet the needs of people with an ID.

About Beth: Beth has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Honours in Psychology and has worked clinically as Assistant Clinical Psychologist within mental health services in the UK. She is currently working as a project officer in the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry at The University of New South Wales, working on research aimed at supporting the mental health needs of individuals with Intellectual Disability


12.30 – Dr. Kitty-Rose Foley
Post-school adult life for young people with Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a chromosomal birth disorder affecting one in 650 to 1000 live births in Australia. The life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically over the past two generations leading to changes in social, economic and personal needs. Encompassed within this, is the successful transition from school to post-school, a time of upheaval, stress and important decisions for young people with Down syndrome. This research aimed to explore the transition from school to post-school for young people with Down syndrome and describe factors which positively and aversively influenced outcomes in adulthood. Families of young people with Down syndrome aged 15–35 years were recruited from the population-based Down syndrome ‘Needs Opinion Wishes’ database in Western Australia to participate in a longitudinal study. Questionnaires were mailed to participating families at three different time points over a seven year period. Questionnaires involved two parts, young person characteristics such as behaviour, functioning in activities of daily living, day occupation, medical conditions and quality of life; and family functioning. Quantitative analyses were used to explore relationships between independent variables and outcomes in adulthood. Families of young people with Down syndrome returned questionnaires at Wave 1 (n=363/500), Wave 2 (n=203/229) and Wave 3 (n=197/223). Young adults were reported as participating in open employment, training, sheltered employment or day recreational programs post-school.  Those who reported better functioning in activities of daily living were more likely to be in open employment and/or training compared with those attending sheltered employment and/or day recreation programs after adjusting for age, gender and rural/metropolitan regions. We also examined the relationship between day occupation and behaviour change and family quality of life.This research outlined the association between participation in open employment and improvement in behaviour and better family quality of life. This presentation will provide an overview of this research and describe selected findings in further detail.

About Kitty-Rose: Kitty-Rose is a post-doctoral research fellow working at 3DN on the Autism CRC. In this talk she will be discussing some of the findings from hr PhD study.


1.00 PM – Lunch, catered by gastronomy.
During lunch we will enjoy two presentations from our valued 3DN staff members regarding their research interests outside of 3DN.

Kate Chitty: Alcohol misuse as a factor for neuroprogression in bipolar disorder: a neurobiological perspective.
Dr. Adrian Davis: The Secret Life of Sydney’s Parrots.


Please RSVP for catering purposes to Rachel Roth (rachel.roth@unsw.edu.au) by 08/10/2014. Thank you.