Autism-Takiwātanga Support & Resources In Aotearoa NZ

Autism-Takiwātanga Support & Resources In Aotearoa NZ

A listing of New Zealand organisations, resources and support available for parents, family and whānau of children and young people with autism-takiwātanga. 


Autism-takiwātanga - support and resources by age group (KidsHealth)

Families of children with autism-takiwātanga sometimes find they want to use different support services at different stages of their child's life and development. This KidsHealth page leads to 5 separate pages with resources and information for 5 different age groups. The kete represent the different age groups. The guiding principal behind these kete is that of rangatiratanga - to enable whānau to have control over their own health and wellbeing.

Collage of screenshots of various organisations supporting families of children with autism.

Diagnosis of autism-takiwātanga and soon after

Diagnostic assessment for ASD in NZ: What to expect (Altogether Autism)

Altogether Autism website screenshot

The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children and young people is important for several reasons. Diagnosis allows access to appropriate resources, support and assistance. More importantly, it aids understanding of the child by those who live with them, teach them and interact with them in their everyday lives. It also enables families to plan for a future that may be somewhat different to the one they expected for their child and for themselves.

About autism (Parent to Parent)

Cover of booklet 'About autism' with a photo of a young smiling girl

A 44-page booklet (PDF, 4.14MB) for those with children who have recently had a diagnosis of ASD. Sections include: About ASD; What it looks like; The senses and ASD; Common difficulties; Strengths and abilities; Causes and prevalence; Diagnosis; Disclosing the diagnosis; Where to from here? (NASC); Strategies and interventions; Positive behaviour support and techniques; Alternative and augmentative communication tools; Strategies at home.

Receiving a diagnosis for your child with special needs (KidsHealth)

KidsHealth website screenshot

Whenever you receive news that your child has special needs, it can be distressing and can lead you and your family to experience a range of emotions. You may feel shock, anger, denial, fear, guilt, sadness, and helplessness. This is normal. The future can be unknown and planning ahead is therefore very difficult. Remember, there are services to help when you want or need help.

Coping when your child has a diagnosis of a chronic illness or disability (KidsHealth)

KidsHealth website screenshot

When your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness or disability, coping is an ongoing process. Everybody copes in a different way. Seek support when you need it.

Advice to parents of newly diagnosed autistic children (Altogether Autism)

Altogether Autism website screenshot

Many parents, when their child is newly diagnosed as autistic, or when they first begin to suspect it, feel stunned and overwhelmed. Penni Winter is an adult on the spectrum and offers her advice.

See all the content on autism-takiwātanga

Autism-takiwātanga support groups

Altogether Autism

Screenshot of Altogether Autism website

Autism New Zealand

Screenshot of Autism NZ website

Autism New Zealand has a range of support services at 16 branches nationwide.

Pasifika Autism Support Group

Screenshot of Pasifika Autism Support Group website

Other support and assistance for your child with autism-takiwātanga

Autism Services (HealthCare New Zealand)

Explore Autism website

Explore is funded through the Ministry of Health to support parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with autism-takiwātanga. For information about the following services, call 0800 605 001. 

  • Exploring Autism 0 to 5 years
  • Exploring Autism 6 to 9 years
  • Teen Life 10 to 15 years
  • Targeted Parent Support 0 to 18 years
  • Explore Specialist Advice

Toilet training for children with autism-takiwātanga (Continence NZ)

Group of young children jumping and holding hands

Children with autism-takiwātanga are more likely to have bowel difficulties, ranging from loose poos to constipation. When toilet training children with autism-takiwātanga it is important to have a plan, be consistent and patient, give calm responses and praise desired behaviours. Continence NZ provides information and resources. 

Needs Assessment Service Coordination (NASC) (KidsHealth)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website

If your child has autism-takiwātanga, a needs assessment is the first step towards identifying what needs your child may have and what outcomes you want from the process. Service coordination is the process of working with you to explore how best to organise the support and services you need to help your child to be as independent as possible. Support to meet your child's needs may come from families and friends, community agencies and resources, or from government-funded services.

Financial help when your child has a disability or chronic condition (KidsHealth)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website

Different kinds of financial support may be available. Talk to your health professional, social worker, or NASC (Needs Assessment Service Coordination) Service about which allowances you may be able to receive.

Autism-takiwātanga by age and stage

Autism in early childhood (Altogether Autism)

Altogether Autism website screenshot

All parents of young children want a happy and healthy child with every opportunity to reach their full potential. In this life stage, Altogether Autism has articles from family/whānau and professionals about early signs of autism, getting a diagnosis and what to do next. There is information about the supports and services available for young children on the autism spectrum, the benefits of early intervention and how to plan for transition to primary school.

Autism in primary school aged children (Altogether Autism)

Altogether Autism website screenshot

The early years in school can lay the foundation for future success. In this life stage, Altogether Autism has articles about successfully managing change and accessing education supports to give children on the autism spectrum the best chance to thrive. There's also information from parents and professionals about tackling tough issues like managing behaviour, anxiety, sensory sensitivities and working with children's strengths.

Autism in teenagers (Altogether Autism)

Altogether Autism website screenshot

All teenagers experience change but for autistic teens this is often particularly challenging. At school there's the academic demands, relationships with other teenagers can be complex and there is the constant pressure to think about the future. In this life stage, Altogether Autism has articles and lived experience stories dealing with these issues.

Autism-takiwātanga and language

Language opportunities at home (Altogether Autism)

Altogether Autism website screenshot

Young children on the autism spectrum may face challenges using and responding to spoken language, writes speech and language therapist Estelle Pretorius. You can support your child to learn that language can be fun and exciting, especially when it involves activities that they love. You will also discover that everyday activities and routines can provide many language opportunities for your child.

Speech and language (KidsHealth)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website - speech and language section

Information about typical communication development in young children and ideas for supporting them. You'll also find suggestions about what to do if you are worried about your child's communication development.

Sibling support

Living with a sibling with a disability (Parent to Parent)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website - living with a brother or sister with a disability

Watch a 2 part video series where siblings from around New Zealand tell their stories of living with a family member with a disability. Find out about sibling support groups.

Autism-takiwātanga, education and learning support

Learning Support: What is it? (KidsHealth)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website

Your child may need extra support if they have needs that are affecting their learning or participation in everyday life.

Learning Support before your child goes to school (KidsHealth)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website

If your child needs extra support for learning and development, there are qualified, experienced people in early intervention services who can work with you. This support is available from birth through to when your child starts school.

Learning Support when your child is at school (KidsHealth)

Screenshot of KidsHealth website

Most children with additional learning needs receive support from their school. But if teachers decide your child needs extra learning support, the Ministry of Education's Learning Support team can help. Staff at your child's school or early childhood education centre will coordinate extra services.

ASD - a resource for educators (TKI - Ministry of Education)

Screenshot of TKI website page on ASD resource for educators

This resource is for teachers - to give them an introduction to autism spectrum disorder and how it might affect a student in any classroom or school setting. It aims to give a taste of what it might be like to stand in the shoes of a student with ASD and some guidelines on how to incorporate goals for students within The New Zealand Curriculum. Parents may also find it useful. 

Supporting children and young people with ASD (Ministry of Education)

Screenshot of Ministry of Education website

Providing the right support for students with ASD can significantly change their learning outcomes and their relationships. The Ministry of Education provides advice on teaching students with ASD and links to other supporting resources and organisations.

Education programmes (Autism NZ)

Screenshot of Autism NZ website page on ASD programmes

Autism NZ has a number of externally evaluated, New Zealand based education programmes for families (and professionals). The programmes are delivered by facilitators who are professionals working in the field of autism or parents who have lived experience, with consultation from autistic adults.

Autism-takiwātanga, development and behaviour 

Autism: behaviour (Raising Children, Australia)

Screenshot to Raising Children website

Raising Children is an Australian website that has parenting advice on a range of conditions affecting young people. They have a section on behaviours in tamariki with autism-takiwātanga. It has information and advice for parents and caregivers to help manage different behaviours. 

Problematic and harmful sexual behaviour in autistic children and teenagers (Raising Children, Australia)

Screenshot of raising children website

Children and teenagers with autism-takiwātanga are no more likely to engage in problematic or harmful sexual behaviour than typically developing children and teenagers. Children and teenagers with autism-takiwātanga might need help to understand healthy sexual behaviour. The Raising Children website has some great advice for families and whānau on how they can approach this.

This page last reviewed 15 March 2021.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it