Past Events


Chemical Restraint: Primum non nocere

Monday 30 November, 2020, Presenters: Michael McDowell and Daryl Efron

First, do no harm. When treating children and youth with psychotropic medications, could we be seen as restraining children? This question is in active discussion at the moment within the Disability Royal Commission.

This Webinar considers the question of chemical restraint. What differentiates good clinical prescribing practice (that demonstrably benefits the child) from chemical restraint? This question will be examined in a ‘fireside chat’ discussion format, based on complex clinical cases.

Cognitive Assessment of Children Part 2: The Role of Cognitive Testing in the Identification and Treatment of Specific Learning Disorders

Monday 26 October, 2020, Presenter: Deborah Knight

This session will begin with an overview of key findings from a range of disciplines including genetics, neurobiology and the cognitive sciences regarding the known causes and correlates of developmental learning disorders. Emphasis will be given to a discussion of the various processing difficulties typically exhibited by children with literacy and numeracy difficulties, early identification and best practice assessment methods, common comorbidities and the role of cognitive testing in diagnosing SLD. Evidence based instructional programs and useful assistive technologies will be described together with a critique of some popular non-curriculum based therapies.

Cognitive Assessment of Children Part 1: Foundations, Methods and Clinical Applications

Monday 28 September, 2020, Presenter: Deborah Knight

Clinical management of children presenting with developmental difficulties typically includes referring them for a cognitive assessment. What this involves for the child and his/her parents, what the paediatrician can expect from the assessment, and the implications of the assessment findings in terms of treatment and support planning is the subject of this session. Discussion will include an overview of current theories of intelligence, assessment measures, interpretative guidelines and test limitations. Additional psychometric measures commonly given and required for differential diagnosis will also be discussed.

NBPSA Trainee Research Project

Monday 14 September, 2020, Presenters: Gemma Sinclair, Priya Heyes and Deepa Jeyaseelan

Each presenter is from a different state across Australia, and in a different phase of project conduction (currently doing one, completed one, and supervising one) - and will be talking about their own experiences with this RACP training requirement. From brainstorming ideas, approaching possible supervisors, the research and writing process - this webinar explores each person's experience and perspective to help inform where to from here. The 30 minute presentation was followed by a live question and answer session.

Prescribing Psychotropic Medications

Monday 27 July, 2020, Presenters: Michael McDowell and Daryl Efron

"Why do we prescribe psychotropic medications to developing children and youth?" Prescribing and managing psychotropic medication is a large component of treatment practice in NB Paediatrics. Research and education that informs this competency focuses on questions of diagnosis, choice of medication and usage details, such as dosing. But are we clear on the fundamental question of why we prescribe? We believe that it is to help children. How do we think about purpose? How do we evaluate outcomes? How do we talk to each other, parents, agencies, and other professionals on this question? Sociological perspectives have challenged this innate belief (that it is good for children) that drives our prescribing. At an extreme end, medications have been characterised as pharmaceutical violence, chemical straight-jacketing. More moderate views criticise the assumption that individuals should be normalised into a model of what is and is not deemed acceptable.

Within the medical system, psychiatry has been using psychotropic medications before NBP. Their default model is the mental health disorder. Anxiety may be OK, but an anxiety disorder is harmful. Medication may reduce symptoms below the threshold that defines a disorder, so it is thereby a justifiable consideration. Is this way of thinking appropriate to presume in our NBP practice? Is this why we determine symptom response as the measure of treatment outcomes. This talk considers the purpose of psychotropic medication in a developmental paediatric context. We deal with change over time, not relatively static psychiatric disorders. How can we be sure that the drugs we prescribe actually help children?

Developmental Trauma – Working Towards Trauma Informed Care

Monday 29 June, 2020, Presenter: Samantha Kaiser

Learning objectives:

  • To revisit attachment theory and the Adverse Childhood Experience Study
  • To consider the impact of Developmental Trauma
  • To define Developmental Trauma
  • To understand Trauma Informed Care

Education Workshops

2019 Education Day: Rational Prescribing, Auckland, New Zealand

A rational prescribing workshop where participants enjoyed presentations, engaged in case study discussions and panel discussions focusing on approaches to prescribing medications in a variety of situations relating to NDB paediatrics, which included anxiety, ADHD, intellectual disabilities and disruptive behaviours.

2018 Education Day: Rational Prescribing, Sydney, New South Wales

At this workshop participants enjoyed presentations, engaged in case study discussions and panel discussions focusing on approaches to prescribing medications in a variety of situations relating to NDB paediatrics, ADHD, mood disorder and anxiety, disability mental health and disruptive behaviours.

2017 Private Practice Workshop: Building Resilience in Practice, Sydney, New South Wales

The workshop focused on private practice, more specifically on building resilience in private practice. Over two days participants engaged in discussion and contributed to a successful exchange covering such topics as approaching complex clinical situations and managing parents with complex issues, setting up and maintaining a private practice, understanding the fundamentals of funding and coordinating appropriately with other agencies.

2017 Leadership Development Program Workshop, Sydney, New South Wales

Invited Guest: Former Commissioner for Children in New Zealand

The Workshop was led by external facilitators with a wealth of expertise delivering leadership programs in the health sector, along with an experienced team of senior NBPSA members and staff. The workshop was highly interactive, designed around priorities put forward by participants, providing them with tools, frameworks and activities that aimed to build a cohort with common interests in developing leadership capabilities and participants each crafted their own personal Leadership Development Plans.

2017 Education Day: Trauma and the Developing Brain, The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Victoria

The Education Day focused on the implications of trauma looking at adverse childhood experiences, trauma in the NICU and the biology and epigenetics of trauma. The workshop included extensive discussion about the consequences and outcomes of trauma looking at approaches to treatment and therapy, drug use in adolescence and youth in detention.

2016 Private Practice Workshop: Doing it by Ourselves, Kingscliff, New South Wales

The workshop focused on private practice, the more general topic was 'monodisciplinary' consulting, without the structured support of a surrounding team. Over two days participants contributed actively to what was a successful exchange of opinion, strategy and ideas. The dinner extended the workshop theme with an adult neuroplasticity lesson in bilateral motor integration (i.e. juggling), under the energetic guidance of a professional Byron Bay juggler.

Annual Conferences

2019 Annual Conference: It's not all Black and White, Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Keynote speaker: Jeff McMullen, journalist and human rights advocate

The 2019 Conference focused on the unique and complex nature of NDB paediatric practice. Plenaries and workshops explored approaches to deal with a range of complex issues relating to psychopharmacology, externalising and internalising mental health conditions, including managing challenging behaviours and anxiety, and positive outcomes and hope in the complexity space.

2018 Annual Conference, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria

Keynote speakers: Professor David Amor, Clinical Geneticist, Victorian Clinical Genetic Services; Professor Martin Delatycki, Clinical Medical Director, Victorian Clinical Genetic Services; and Heather Renton, President of SWAT Australia and parent of a child with a disability

The 2018 Conference in Melbourne was held partly in conjunction with The International Society for Behavioural Phenotypes. Educational sessions covered a range of interesting topics, including the implications associated with genetic testing in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, managing parental engagement in potential ‘quack’ therapies, managing Tourette syndrome and intractable epilepsy and exploring the paediatrician’s role in tackling tech time.

2017 Annual Conference: Awhi Matauranga (Learning Together), Langham Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand

The 2017 Conference in Auckland covered a range of stimulating topics emphasising bi-cultural practice in a variety of settings, understanding communication challenges and needs of children and youth, approaches to research with hard to reach populations, prescribing cannabinoids for epilepsy and managing NDB paediatric patients with long QT syndrome.

2016 Annual Conference: Out of the Box, Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia

Keynote speakers: Professor Susan Prescott, Professor of Paediatrics at the School of Medicine, University of Western Australia and Dr Alan Logan, Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health

The 2016 Conference in Fremantle had a focus on advocacy in NDB paediatrics and strategies for working with community groups and Aboriginal populations. Speakers explored life course risk factors for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children with ADHD and artistic approaches to therapy for children with Autism. There was a special focus on the environment and health, specifically the implications of biodiversity for the future of human health and how natural environments impact mental health.

2015 Annual Conference: DBP in a Changing World, Menzies Hotel Sydney, New South Wales

Keynote speaker: Professor Randi Hagerman, Medical Director, UC Davis M.I.N.D Institute USA, Endowed Chair in Fragile X Research

The 2015 Conference in Sydney was presented collaboratively with Sydney’s Children’s Hospital Network. Participants enjoyed both local and international speakers who have paved the way forward for Developmental Paediatrics. Educational sessions and panel discussions explored the early days of Fragile X syndrome and targeted treatments for neurodevelopmental disorders applying the Fragile X model, the epidemiological view of FASD and practical approaches to diagnosis and management, addressing complexity in ADHD and identifying the high functioning ASD student. Perspectives on managing challenging behaviours in the context of the bio-psycho-social approach were also explored.

2014 Annual Conference: Bridging the Gap, Stamford Hotel Brisbane, Queensland

Keynote speakers: Professor Kenneth Nunn, Child Psychiatrist, Westmead Children’s Hospital, Associate Professor Michael O’Callaghan, Developmental Paediatrician, Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy; and Dr Peter Parry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Children's Health Queensland - Child & Youth Mental Health Services

The 2014 Conference focused on the complex overlap between developmental paediatrics and mental health, focusing on the role of services and building connections between paediatricians and mental health professionals. Participants enjoyed educational sessions and panel discussions addressing a range of interesting topics starting by looking at lessons from the lifespan perspective, then focusing on specific lifespan periods, for example, targeting infant mental health, psychosis in adolescence and intellectual disability across childhood and adolescence.

2013 First Annual Conference: State of the Art, Olsen Art Series Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria

The 2013 Conference in Melbourne was the first annual conference. Educational sessions focused on a variety of stimulating topics, the latest in ADHD, anxiety disorders in childhood and adolescence, the paediatrician and psychiatrist interface and genetic diagnosis for developmental disorders.

2012 Inaugural NBPSA meeting: Our first acronym, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Victoria

Our first official event was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This meeting combined professional content with the initial business meeting of our newly named society.

2012 Where it All Began, O'Reilly's, Gold Coast Hinterland

In May 2012, a group of 50 Developmental Paediatricians travelled from all over Australia, New Zealand and Singapore to explore a variety of questions around the nature of Developmental Paediatrics and what was currently available to support post-FRACP clinicians. The discussion concluded that the profession had come of age and that current structures were insufficient to meet the ongoing professional development needs for clinicians working in this area. This resulted in a proposal, supported by unanimous vote, to establish our own Society. In this way the NBPSA was born.