David Dossetor

David Dossetor is a British trained child psychiatrist with a special interest in intellectual disability and Autism and is team leader of the Developmental Psychiatry Team at Children’s Hospital at Westmead. He is Clinical Associate Professor at Sydney Medical School and for 14 years till recently he was the Area Director for Mental Health for Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. With the establishment of the small Developmental Psychiatry Team, he has worked to build capacity through collaboration and interagency partnerships in NSW over the last 20 years.

The partnership with the children’s team of the Statewide Behaviour Intervention Team of ADHC established a tertiary clinical interagency service, developed a multidisciplinary training curriculum in mental health in intellectual disability and in 2011 led to the publication of an evidenced-based textbook on “Mental health for children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities: a framework for professional practice”(IP Communications). The NDIS has been disruptive to interagency partnership.

However, in 2009, CHW received funding for a School-link project led by Jodie Caruana which focused on MH Liaison with Schools that cater for C&A with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities which has strengthened an interagency approach to include NSW Department of Education. This fostered clinical partnership, training and education, prevention and pathways to care. The partnership publishes a free electronic educational journal on MH for C&A with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 2-3 times a year, hosted by the CHW School-link website (www.schoollink.chw.edu.au). These partnerships have also led to research in MH prevention, promotion and intervention, including Group Stepping Stones Parent Training Intervention in Special Schools, “Meet Jessica” cartoon animation and Mental Health Awareness Raising Workshops and the Westmead Feelings Program. The Westmead Feelings Program formally called EBSST is emotion-based learning for Autism and has been shown to be a highly effective intervention for ASD, in clinical cohorts, schools and even a whole school intervention. Westmead Feelings Program I for those in early primary school, with developing language but minimal literacy or with mild ID, was published last year by The Australian Council for Educational Research and training is now available on-line. Westmead Feelings Program II for those in late primary, with literacy skills or high functioning was published in September this year (2018). The project team is led by Michelle Wong and Belinda Jones.

David is an active participant in promoting specialist mental health skills, services and research for C&A with intellectual disability, such as through his role on the NSW Agency of Clinical Innovation Disability Network and in supporting the specialist health services for C&A with intellectual disability.