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New Project to Help Schools

Media Release
28 July 2011

New Project to Help Schools


Autism New Zealand today announced the launch of a project to help schools improve access to education for all children, especially those on the Autism Spectrum.

Autism New Zealand Chief Executive, Alison Molloy, said “This project has been made possible by support from Pub Charity who have provided the funding to develop a toolkit and deliver it into every school in the country. Our big goals are to improve the opportunities for all New Zealand children to get the most they can from their education and to make our schools more inclusive.” “This will be an 18-24 month project with follow up and support and we are very excited about the chance we have to make a positive difference to the education of our children.”

“With 1 in 100 New Zealanders on the Autism Spectrum this can mean that, on average, one in three classrooms contain someone with autism, who may or may not have been diagnosed. The nature of autism means that this child may not respond to the classroom environment in the same way as other children and there is an increased likelihood of disruption which can affect the learning of all children in the class.

The response of other children to someone who may struggle with communication and social interaction has led to cases of bullying and violence and can further isolate an already marginalised person.” Autism New Zealand believe that the toolkit will help school staff to manage these difficulties and improve the quality of learning within New Zealand’s classrooms by providing teachers, teacher aides and all school staff with the tools required to identify a person on the Autism Spectrum and recognise the triggers that can lead to disruptive behaviour and reduce their incidence.

The positive benefits of the toolkit have been recognised by the Ministry of Education who are very interested in supporting this exciting project. Ms Molloy stressed that despite receiving funding for this project people living with autism in New Zealand still face systemic underfunding. “That is why this project could never have happened without the vision and support of Pub Charity.” Funding for ongoing day to day support for people with autism and their families remains a key issue for the autism community.

Ends


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