Empowerment, the New Zealand ASD Guideline and the Living Guideline Group: An update

Empowerment is defined as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights”.

The NZ ASD Guideline (2008) is an influential empowerment tool for people on the autistic spectrum, and their families and support networks. The ASD Guideline makes key recommendations based on robust evidence regarding the identification and diagnosis; support for individuals, their families and carers; education; treatment and management; living in the community; and Maori and Pacific perspectives. A number of changes to policy and practice within NZ have come about as a result of the NZ ASD Guideline.

From the outset, the ASD Guideline took a “living guideline” approach to ensure that recommendations are kept current. The Living Guideline Group has been entrusted with this process since 2009. The group meets annually to appraise relevant topics where new research suggests that either existing recommendations need to be modified, or that new recommendations are required.

This presentation reviews the work of the Living Guideline Group, summarizes the topics reviewed and discusses changes to recommendations. We will also provide an overview of how the new second edition of the NZ ASD Guideline has been updated to reflect the Living Guideline Group’s work. The Living Guideline Group would also like to consult with Autism NZ conference participants regarding potential topics for future Living Guideline Group reviews.