Australasia’s first Autism Resource Centre is set to open its doors formally on the 20th of February. The centre is the
first of its kind and boasts several services in which the autistic community in Wellington can utilise. This building
was specifically designed to not only suit the needs of the autistic community, but to marry its environment. Inspired
by Petone and the surrounding valley, the buildings geographical surroundings were the fundamental features in which the
designers took inspiration from.
The centre includes The Victoria University of Wellington Autism Clinic - Te Rāngai Takiwātanga. The clinic, established
together with the Autism Intervention Trust and Autism New Zealand, is designed to develop and evaluate best practice
early interventions for young children with autism in New Zealand. They work with children under the age of five who
have, or are suspected of having, autism. As well as working with their families and whānau, caregivers, teachers,
therapists and other health professionals. Some of the services Victoria University of Wellington and the Autism Clinic
provide are: Parent coaching playgroup, therapy with experienced and trainee therapists, and Early Childhood visits.
Dr Hannah Waddington, clinic lead of the Victoria University of Wellington Autism Clinic, stated: "We are very excited
to be offering our services out of the Autism Resource Centre. The space is ideally suited to our childrens’ needs. This
is a great opportunity to continue working with Autism New Zealand to provide much needed evidence-based support to
children with autism and their whānau."
Eric Murray, Autism New Zealand’s current patron, who will be part of the formal opening, stated that “the Autism
Resource Centre will make a huge impact on the autistic community”. Further, “I am proud to be patron of an organisation
that is striving to make a significant difference, by creating an autism friendly centre. When my son Zac was first
diagnosed with autism, a centre such as this would have made for a more positive experience”.