Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner is welcoming a new provider for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) programmes, previously run by IDEA Services.

“People with ASD are often vulnerable to sudden change or loss of routine so IDEA’s decision to cancel its autism services caused a great deal of unnecessary stress for hundreds of disabled people and their families,” Ms Wagner says.

“Within days the Ministry of Health has secured a new provider, meaning there will be no interruption to services.”

Explore Services Ltd will take over the provision of ASD education, communication and behaviour support programmes at the end of the month.

“I’m extremely pleased to have a new provider in place so quickly, giving reassurance and security to this vulnerable cohort and their families,” Ms Wagner says.

The Ministry will be working with Explore and IDEA Services to ensure a smooth transition. Those referred for specialist ASD services will automatically be transferred to Explore.

“Explore already provides specialist behaviour support services across New Zealand and has experience transferring large numbers of clients. Its first move will be to write to anyone affected by this change, including those on the waiting list, and provide more detailed information," Ms Wagner says.

“The Government is committed to ensuring people with ASD and their families have access to the best possible services."

Explore is contracted to provide ASD services for two years, ending 31 March 2019.

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