Autism New Zealand

Funding from the Sutherland Self Help Trust has enabled Autism New Zealand provide diagnostic assessments for family/whānau of tamariki who have not been accepted to receive a diagnostic assessment through the public system, or where the waitlist for the public system has been prohibitively high. To support earlier diagnosis and support for autistic tamariki, we prioritise assessments for tamariki under 5 years. However, we are also providing assessments for older tamariki up to the age of 18 years. Access to diagnosis can help family/whānau to understand and explain their child and is an important step towards accessing necessary supports. Funding from this grant is also enabling family/whānau to access Autism NZ’s education programmes, supporting their understanding of autism.

Family/whānau have consistently explained how grateful they are that the Autism NZ diagnostic service exists. For example, one parent commented: “An excellent and sorely underfunded service which aims to put a fence at the top of the cliff instead of an ambulance at the bottom”. While funding from the Sutherland Self Help trust enables family/whānau to access a diagnostic assessment for their child free of charge, we also offer diagnostic assessments for adults at a lower cost than the private system. One young adult who accessed our system said: “Going through this process with you has meant so much to me and my family. The work you’re doing is life-changing and will continue to guide us. Thanks for being so warm and understanding. You made me feel seen and have given me so much insight into my own life”. As a result of this young adult’s diagnosis, the family requested a diagnostic assessment for a younger sibling. As a service we prioritise assessments for family members who have already accessed our service as we understand how this can help the family unit. The sibling is able to access an assessment with funding from the Sutherland Self Help Trust. Her mother explained: “Going through this diagnosis has been very healing for [my daughter], and for us as a family, and that you see us as a family member unit is so empowering… We’re so grateful to be accepted and to be getting this support 🙂 The support you’ve given my daughter has been life changing not just for her, but for us as a family, and we’ll really look forward to going through the diagnosis process with my other daughter”.

In 2023 we expanded our service from operating one day per week to operating two days per week. This means we have been able to offer diagnostic assessments to more people thereby increasing the reach and impact of our service. 

 “Going through this process with you has meant so much to me and my family. The work you’re doing is life-changing and will continue to guide us. Thanks for being so warm and understanding. You made me feel seen and have given me so much insight into my own life”. – A Young Adult who accessed Autism New Zealand’s services

 

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