IDEA Services – unable to continue with Autism education and communications programmes for families

Media Release

6 April 2017


We are sorry to announce that IDEA Services has given notice that it simply cannot continue to provide Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) family education and one-to-one communication support programmes following three years of underfunding.

The Ministry of Health contract to provide the ASD programmes expired at 5pm on Friday 31 March 2017. 

IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones says the situation is devastating.

“Families living with Autism are desperate for these services – and there’s a waitlist,” Ralph said.

“We have indicated for months that we couldn’t continue without a funding increase. We have used money IHC has raised through fundraising to offer free workshops and courses to families having to wait- and we have been proud to do it. We have also tried a fee-for-service model for professionals attending non-government funded courses.

“In short we have put the time, money and influence of IHC behind this to try to make the contract sustainable but it just doesn’t work.”

A consultation period will now begin with staff and IDEA Services will continue to meet its obligations to families until the end of April – without funding.

We will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to find out where families should go next.

Under the contract IDEA Services has been providing three family education programmes

  • Growing up with Autism - designed to increase parental knowledge and skill in supporting their adolescent with autism.
  • ASD Plus - Increasing parental knowledge and skill in supporting their pre-school child with autism.
  • Communication & Behaviour - Improving the social, communication and coping skills of children or young people who have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from the more than 3000 families who have accessed these programmes and we know we are making a real difference,” says Ralph.

The contract ended on the day before Autism Month began.

“The timing is an extra blow,” Ralph says. “What I can say is that IHC will continue to be here for people with Autism. The IHC Library will continue to send out free books and much needed information and we will always advocate for people’s rights.”