Hewlett N, Hayes L, Williams R, Hamilton S, Holland L, Gall A, Doyle M, Goldsbury S, Boaden N, Reid N. Development of an Australian FASD Indigenous Framework: Aboriginal Healing-Informed and Strengths-Based Ways of Knowing, Being and Doing. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023; 20(6):5215. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20065215
Aboriginal culture intuitively embodies and interconnects the threads of life that are known to be intrinsic to human wellbeing: connection. Therefore, Aboriginal wisdom and practices are inherently strengths-based and healing-informed. Underpinned by an Indigenist research methodology, this article presents findings from a collaboration of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to develop an Australian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Indigenous Framework during 2021 to 2023. The FASD Indigenous Framework unfolds the changes that non-Aboriginal clinicians and Aboriginal peoples each need to make in their respective ways of knowing, being and doing in order to facilitate access to healing-informed, strengths-based and culturally responsive FASD knowledge, assessment, diagnosis and support services among Aboriginal peoples. Drawing on the Aboriginal practices of yarning and Dadirri, written and oral knowledges were gathered. These knowledges were mapped against Aboriginal cultural responsiveness and wellbeing frameworks and collaboratively and iteratively reflected upon throughout. This article brings together Aboriginal wisdom (strengths-based, healing-informed approaches grounded in holistic and integrated support) and Western wisdom (biomedicine and therapeutic models) in relation to FASD. From a place of still awareness (Dadirri), both forms of wisdom were drawn upon to create Australia’s first FASD Indigenous Framework, a new practice in the assessment and diagnosis of FASD, which offers immense benefit to equity, justice, support and healing for Aboriginal families with a lived experience of FASD.