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Communication, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and youth justice

PhD Candidate: Natalie Kippin

PhD Title: Communication, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and youth justice


Language diversity, language disorder and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder are common among young people in youth justice populations. A mis-match between the languages of service providers and service users, as well as a breakdown of communication due to developmental disorders have important implications for education, health and youth justice sectors. This is because effective two-way communication is essential for a young person’s social and emotional wellbeing and success with education and rehabilitation. In our research, we aim to examine the communication abilities of young people who are sentenced to youth detention in Western Australia (WA). The outcomes of our research are anticipated to guide recommendations for how we can better meet the needs of young people who are involved with youth justice.

The studies of this PhD include:

  1. Identification of the number of different languages spoken by young people in youth detention in WA - Read Natalie's paper
  2. A description of the communication skills of young people in youth detention in WA, including the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure and FASD - Read Natalie's paper
  3. A review of what is already known about the communication profiles of adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure.
  4. A discussion related to the implications of our results and opportunities to better enable service providers to work with and support young people.

Read Natalie's PhD 

Supervisors: Associate Professor Suze Leitao (Curtin University), Dr Amy Finlay-Jones (FASD Research Australia CRE), Dr Rochelle Watkins (FASD Research Australia CRE)

For information about this PhD contact Natalie Kippin

The funding for this project is provided through a FASD Research Australia PhD Scholarship. Read more about FASD Research Australia