Saturday, December 9, 2023

Latest autism guideline released

Minister for Disability Issues, Poto Williams has welcomed the release of the latest edition of the Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline – He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau.

She said the Guideline provides an opportunity to better understand and communicate best practices for supporting autistic people and their families and whānau. It also provides a framework for improving services, based on robust and reliable information.

“Every person has the right to live in an inclusive community where they can access education, health and other services in ways that support their sense of belonging,” said Minister Williams.

“This evidence-based practice guideline supports that kaupapa.” 

It was the world’s first ‘living guideline’ when it was originally released in 2008, and is to be regularly updated to remain responsive to the needs of autistic people in this rapidly evolving field, the Minister said.

A new title ‘Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline. He Waka Huia Takiwātanga Rau’ has also been gifted for the third edition of this publication. The kupu means ‘A vessel for housing our many precious taonga’.

“This ‘living’ Guideline is a world-leading collaborative effort of researchers, clinicians, educators, community service providers, and government agencies. Crucially, it has been informed by the perspectives and language preferences of autistic people, te ao Māori experts, and Pacific Peoples experts, and I recognise the dedication of all these contributors,” said Minister Williams.

“In June I was proud to launch Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People. Whaikaha reflects this Government’s commitment to the disability community and towards the realisation of a true partnership between Government and disabled people, tāngata whaikaha, their whānau, carers and supporters.

“A key intent of Whaikaha is to give full effect to the collective voices of disabled people – this Guideline is one such tool to support this important work for those with autism.

“Whaikaha has a mandate to work effectively with other government agencies to help improve outcomes for disabled people. This latest edition of the Guideline has been proudly led by Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People in partnership with the Ministry of Education,” she said.

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