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New Funding For Autism Training

22 March 2002 Media Statement

Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson today announced new funding for training caregivers of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Speaking at the Autism New Zealand Conference in Auckland, Ms Dyson said the Ministry of Health would provide $319,000 over three years for training informal caregivers such as family members. The training programme will be run by Autism New Zealand.

The funding comes on top of more than $900,000 over three years for the organisation’s Early Bird programme, which is being rolled out nationally after successful pilots in Wellington and Nelson. The three-month programme works in partnership with parents and carers of pre-school children to help them understand their child’s autistic spectrum disorder, develop their child’s communication and manage their behaviour.

“The focus of the Early Bird programme on pre-school children is important because all the research shows that the earlier the diagnosis of ASD is made, and the sooner appropriate programmes are put in place, the better the outcomes,” Ms Dyson said.

“The new funding will give parents access to further support if they need it.”

Ruth Dyson acknowledged that there were still gaps in services for people with ASD. However, she said progress was being made in many areas, including workforce development, research, and funding for respite care, home support and flexible living options.

Ms Dyson said the New Zealand Disability Strategy supported the demands of people with ASD and their families to be involved in the development of appropriate policy and services.

“Among the 15 objectives of the New Zealand Disability Strategy are objectives to foster leadership by people with disabilities, foster an aware and responsive public service, and value families, whanau and people providing ongoing support.”


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