Department of Human Services

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Executive Summary

The Adelaide Youth Training Centre (AYTC): Kurlana Tapa Disability Screening Assessment project was conducted by the Youth Justice Assessment and Intervention Services (YJAIS) team and partners during March and April 2019. The primary aims of the screening project were to identify the prevalence of disability-related needs in the population to inform both YJAIS service development, and strategic planning for the Youth Justice Services division of the Department for Human Services (DHS).

A total of 36 young people participated in at least one of the multi-disciplinary screening assessments relating to intellectual functioning, cognition, oral language processing, visual motor processing, executive functioning, sensory processing, criminogenic need and mental health. The findings illustrated a very high prevalence of complex disability-related needs which young people in AYTC: Kurlana Tapa live with and experience.

The screening project identified multiple areas of disability-related need, many of which were previously unknown or unaddressed, and which impact on service engagement, service delivery, and therapeutic activities that young people are connected with as part of their case plan. It is worth noting that some young people who already had known disabilities and were previously connected to the NDIS do not feature in this population snapshot; thus, the true rate of disability may be even higher than the results reported herein. Findings from the screening project informed the development of the YJAIS Multidisciplinary Service Framework in relation to ongoing identification of, and response to identified needs.

Broad recommendations of the project include:

  • Screening assessment for disability-related needs and comprehensive assessment if indicated.
  • Staff training regarding awareness of neurodevelopmental disability.
  • Disability-informed policies and procedures embedded across the division.
  • Stronger partnerships with YJAIS regarding referral and co-working.
  • Review of client-facing documentation across the division.
  • Improved business technology and intelligence.
  • Development and implementation of a Sensory Modulation framework.

Key messages

All young people scored outside of the average range for at least one aspect of visual-motor integration (more than half scored in the “severe range of impairment “for at least one aspect)

9 out of 10 young people were found to be at risk for language disorder.

Almost 8 out of 10 young people indicated significant difficulties with controlling impulses.

One in three young people had sensory needs significantly different to the general population (that is, “much more“ or “much less” than most people in at least one category).

More than half the young people had new areas of need identified through the screening project.

More than half the young people had needs that warranted further involvement from the multi-disciplinary YJAIS team.

9 out of 10 young people scored below average for intellectual functioning.

More than 8 out of 10 young people indicated difficulties with attention/concentration and working memory.

More than three-quarters of young people indicated challenges with executive functioning and behaviour.

1-to-2 thirds scored in the moderate or severe range for

  • conduct disorder
  • academic problems
  • substance abuse
  • anger/violence prone
  • post-traumatic stress disorder.

An NDIS access request was recommended for almost one quarter of the young people involved in the screening project.

More than one third of the young people involved were recommended for external referral to services other than NDIS (for example, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, paediatrician, Department for Education).

9 out of 10 young people were found to be at a moderate or high risk of reoffending.

Recommendations (supporting inclusion, promoting desistance)

Young person (personal factors)

  • Learning ability
  • Communication skills
  • Physical ability
  • Managing emotions
  • Self-regulation
  • Mental health
  • Problem-solving and planning skills
  • Memory skills
  • Routines and habits
  • Everyday living skills
  • Cultural identity
  • Forming and maintaining relationships
  • Staff interactions
  • Peer interactions
  • Experience of trauma
  • Socio-economic
  • Social environment (family)
  • Culture
  • Educational opportunities
  • Accommodation
  • Institutional expectations
  • Physical environment (including sensory)

Young person environment (external factors)

Youth Justice interventions

YJAIS multidisciplinary team direct and indirect involvement with young people.

  • screening assessment
  • comprehensive assessment
  • criminogenic programs and intervention
  • skill development in the areas of:
    • social skills
    • communication skills
    • executive functioning
    • self-regulation
    • functional life skills.

Youth Justice Staff

Skilled workforce:

  • awareness
  • knowledge and training
  • interactions with young people
  • responsive to disability needs.
  • sensory modulation framework
  • communication
  • accessible/friendly.

Youth Justice Environment

Youth Justice Strategy

Disability-informed policies and procedures embedded in Youth Justice Strategy.

Page last updated : 01 May 2022

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