Explore Autism programmes

Explore offers ASD Plus, Teen Life and Targeted Parent Support.

Through these programmes, Explore supports parents to understand what autism is, build on existing strengths and knowledge and develop new skills to address areas directly relating to their child’s diagnosis.

ASD Plus

The ASD Plus – Education for Families Programme is for parents, family/ whanau and caregivers of a young child with a diagnosis of autism. The programme supports participants to better understand the way in which their child thinks, learns and experiences the world. It aims to introduce participants to a range of practical strategies that support positive interactions and skill development.

The programme is jointly funded by the Ministries of Health and Education. There is no cost to participants.

Who can attend?

Parents and caregivers of a child aged 0-6 years (up to 7th birthday) who has an autism diagnosis or whose child is currently undergoing assessment and it is felt that it is highly likely that a diagnosis of autism will be given.

The programme

The programme is comprised of 7 sessions, covering the following topics

  • Introduction to Autism
  • Understanding my child’s communication
  • How my child senses the world
  • My child’s learning style
  • Stress, anxiety and routines
  • Understanding behaviour
  • Managing into the future

Wherever possible we will endeavour to offer this programme in a group context; so that families have the opportunity to connect and to learn with and from each other.

Individual follow up is available to support families to apply their learning to their own child and home situation.

If families are unable to join a group then we are able to support them to complete the programme through individual visits and/or video conferencing within their own home.

How can I apply?

Parents & caregivers can do this by:

1.  Downloading and completing the referral form as a PDF or as a Word document, and emailing this to explore@explore.org.nz.
2. Calling 0800 605 001 and asking one of our team to complete the referral for you.
3. Asking someone to do this for you e.g. Service coordinator at NASC, Developmental/autism coordinator

Teen Life (Young person aged 10 – 15 years)

The Teen Life programme aims to empower parents and supporting professionals to understand more about how autism is experienced by autistic teenagers. It creates opportunities to discuss useful strategies and share ideas to support people with autism through their teen years.  Parents/caregivers can elect to have a professional accompany them in the programme but this not compulsory and is restricted to one person.

The programme is funded by the Ministry of Health. There is no cost to participants.

Who can attend?

Parents/caregivers of an autistic child aged between 10 and 15 (up to 16th birthday). Up to two family members and a supporting professional can attend (with parental permission)

The programme

The programme is comprised of 6 group sessions, covering the following topics:

Session 1 Autism in teenagers
Hidden presentation in women and girls
The autistic perspective
Session 2 Understanding your diagnosis
Understanding intense interests
Managing expectations
Session 3 Self esteem
Spending time with other people
Session 4 Puberty
Independence skills
Session 5 Stress and anxiety
Understanding behaviour
Session 6 Education

How can I apply?

Parents & caregivers can do this by:

1. Selecting a programme from the schedule below and then doing one of the following:
2. Download and complete the referral form as a PDF or as a Word document. Remember to specify the programme you wish to attend from the calendar and email this to explore@explore.org.nz.
3. Calling 0800 605 001 and asking one of our team to complete the referral for you
4. Ask someone to do this for you e.g. Service coordinator at NASC,  Developmental/autism coordinator

We can only accommodate a maximum of 6 families per programme and places will be allocated on a first received basis. We need a minimum of four families to be able to run the programme and may need to postpone delivery if we do not receive enough referrals.

Click on your area below to find what programmes are scheduled near you:



Location Day Dates Times
New Lynn Thursday 20 February – 26 March 2020 10:00am
Pakuranga Wednesday 13 May – 17 June 2020 10:00am
Rosedale Tuesdsay 4 August – 8 September 2020 10:00am
Papatoetoe Thursday 29 October – 3 December 2020 10:00am

North Island

Location Day Dates Times
Rotorua Monday 10 Februray – 16 March 2020 10:00am
Hamilton Thursday 27 February – 12 March 2020 9:30am
Hamilton Thursday 7 May – 21 May 2020 9:30am
Tauranga Monday 20 July – 24 August 2020 10:00am
Tauranga – Mount Maunganui Tuesday 5 May- 9 June 2020 10:00am
Whakatane Tuesday 13 October – 17 November 2020 10:00am
Napier Tuesday 2 June – 16 Jun 2020 10:30am
Whanganui Wednesday 12 February – 26 February 2020 10:30am
Palmerston North Tuesday 3 November -17 November 2020 10:30am
New Plymouth Tuesday 21 October – 4 November 2020 10:30am
Wellington – Kapiti Monday 10 February – 16 March 2020 10:00am
Wellington – Wairarapa Tuesday 5 May – 9 June 2020 10:00am
Wellington – Tawa Tuesday 5 May – 9 June 2020 5:00pm
Wellington – Hataitai Tuesday 28 July – 1 September 2020 10:00am
Wellington – Petone Monday 19 October – 23 November 2020 10:00am

South Island

Location Day Dates Times
Christchurch – Burnside Wednesday 29 April – 3 June 2020 7:00pm
Christchurch – Lincoln Wednesday  19 February – 25 March 2020 1:00pm
Christchurch – Halswell Wednesday 19 August – 30 September 2020 11:30am
Christchurch – Lincoln  Wednesday 14 October – 28 October 2020 10:00am
Ashburton Thursday 30 April – 4 June 2020 11:30am
Richmond Thursday 7 May- 11 June 2020 11:00am
Richmond Thursday 22 October – 26 November 2020 11:00am
Blenheim  Thursday 13 February – 27 February 2020 9:30am
Dunedin Wednesday 15 January – 29 January 2020 10:00am
Dunedin Thursday 23 July – 27 August 2020 11:00am
Invercargill Thursday 14 May – 28 May 2020 9:30am
Oamaru Thursday 10 September – 24 September 2020 10:00am


Targeted Parent Support (0-19th birthday)

This is a brief intervention programme, comprising up to seven family contacts and aims to support families to focus on a specific area associated with their child’s autism diagnosis.  The programme is primarily aimed at supporting skill development and is not intended for children and young people who need specific and targeted support in relation to challenging behaviour.

This support works best when focused on a specific issue or area of development, for example:

  • Planning for successful transitions
  • Introducing strategies to support social understanding
  • Understanding and managing sensory differences
  • Teaching a new skill or routine

Where  multiple referrals are received to different Explore programmes, Explore will review all referrals and make a decision about the best service fit given the information received and proceed with 1 referral.

Who can access this programme?

Families who have a child/young person aged between 0 and 18 years with an autism diagnosis.

Please note that families will need to have capacity to meet regularly over a 3 – 4 month period.

How do I access these programmes?

Referrals can be made through a specialist such as an ASD coordinator, paediatrician, psychiatrist, psychologist or your NASC coordinator.

Specialists can request a referral form by emailing a request to explore@explore.org.nz.