Pre-schoolers with autism now have access to the latest research and therapies through a new clinic at Victoria University of Wellington.
The Autism Clinic - Te Rāngai Takiwātanga has been established in partnership with the IHC Foundation and Autism New Zealand to evaluate best-practice early interventions for young children with autism in New Zealand.
The clinic is run by Dr Hannah Waddington in the School of Education and works with children under the age of five and all those involved in their lives – families and whānau, caregivers and teachers – on strategies to help learning and skill development. The clinic also works with therapists and other health professionals.
The clinic aims to bridge the gap between research into early intervention therapies, such as the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), and the practical use of this research. The clinic offers parent coaching playgroups, one-on-one therapy and workshops.
Dr Larah van der Meer, who is Research and Advocacy Advisor for Autism New Zealand, says autism can now be reliably diagnosed by two years of age, and early detection of autism is critical as it provides access to early intervention, improving a child’s development and quality of life, and decreasing family stress.