Implementing early intervention strategies for a child not yet attending school

WHAT: EarlyBird® is an early intervention programme for parents/whānau/ caregivers, which is specific to the needs of children on the Autism Spectrum.

The EarlyBird® Programme is a three-month programme which combines group training sessions with individual home visits. Video feedback is used to help participants apply what they learn.

Learning Outcomes:

The EarlyBird® Programme will help participants to:

  • Understand their child’s autism.
  • Develop interaction and communication with their child.
  • Manage their child’s behaviour.


  • Parents/caregivers/whānau supporting a young child (not yet in full-time education) with diagnosis or probable diagnosis of autism.
  • Up to two parents/caregivers from each family/whānau may attend the programme.
  • The family/whānau must live within one hour travelling distance from Auckland and Wellington, as home visits are part of the programme.


We do not currently have any EarlyBird programmes scheduled. If you’d like to receive email updates about upcoming programmes please join our Membership.

COST (subject to change): Autism New Zealand will be covering all costs for this programme so there will be no charge to participate. However we encourage you to become a Member of Autism New Zealand*, and we also welcome a donation to Autism New Zealand. (A Donation Tax Receipt will be sent for any donations, as we are a registered Charitable Trust and Incorporated Society).

Our Educators (subject to change)

Neil Stuart, Education & Training Director - Auckland: Neil has over 20 years experience working with children with Autism. He has developed a large number of education and training programmes, including Way to Play, Framework for Autism in New Zealand (FANZ), Tilting the Seesaw, and many more. Neil also has considerable experience working with children with Autism in the mainstream classroom both in New Zealand and in the United Kingdom. This has included managing satellite classes in mainstream schools and advising schools on how best to include pupils with Autism.

Tanya Catterall, National Educator - Auckland: Tanya is a mother of two daughters, one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum. She is an EarlyBird Trainer and has worked as a Teacher Aide in a Special School. Tanya is a joint contributor and developer of the Autism New Zealand suite of education programmes and travels the country delivering them. Her valuable experience living with someone with Autism provides excellent insight and adds a realistic, down-to-earth parent perspective to our programmes.

Shannon Hennig, Regional Educator - Wellington: Shannon has over 20 years experience working with children with autism. She is a certified speech-language therapist, and has worked in schools in both New Zealand and overseas, always with the aim of supporting meaningful communication and engagement. She has a talent for translating research and theory into practical strategies. She is passionate about supporting families, schools, and both children and adults with autism.

Mary-Therese Nalder, Regional Educator - Wellington: Biography to come..


Quote from a parent/caregiver who participated in the EarlyBird® Programme :

“The programme helped us in our acceptance of our child's challenges by giving us a better understanding of his Autism and an opportunity to share experiences with parents and professionals who really understand”.

Important Information

Application Note: You are welcome to apply for the programme and then individual famlies will be approached with offers of places.
Membership: To become an Autism New Zealand Financial Member, please visit our website www.autismnz.org.nz for more information, member benefits and a Membership Form.