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King gives cheque to university for autism diploma

20 December 2000 Media Statement

King gives cheque to university for autism diploma

Health Minister Annette King today handed over the first payment of $10,000 to Massey University to set up the Post Graduate Diploma for people working in the area of autism.

"I am delighted the Government is able to support such an important area of disability support services," Mrs King said. "This course will fill a training gap for people working in the area of autism. People with autism and their families often have complex needs, and we must ensure we have well-trained and qualified people delivering services in the best way."

Mrs King said improvements would not happen overnight, "but we need to take a long term view to developing and training the workforce. Setting up a postgraduate diploma is definitely a step in the right direction."

The two-year contract, worth $316,000 (plus GST), will cover a range of material to equip people for an advanced level of specialisation in the area of autism. This initiative has resulted from joint planning by the Clinical Training Agency (CTA) and the Disability Support Services operating group of the Health Funding Authority, with assistance from the CTA Disability Support Services Advisory Group. Massey was selected following a tender process.

Mrs King said the diploma would be completed part-time over two years, leading to a nationally recognised qualification, with at least 30% of the course clinically focussed. The courses would be delivered by a combination of visiting lecturers and staff employed by Massey University, she said.

The need to increase training for people working in the area of autism was identified in a 1998 report that reviewed the services available to people with autism and their families. "The long-term objective of the diploma training is to promote and develop New Zealand based expertise in the care and support of people with autism."

ENDS

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