Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline


The Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline was first released in 2016 by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and was most recently revised in 2022. It is intended to provide guidance on autism across a person’s whole life and is relevant to those at a young age as well as adults. The Guideline includes information for people with autism, health professionals, anyone involved in education from early childhood to tertiary, community supporters, parents and grandparents, employers, policy advisers.

View and download Aotearoa New Zealand Autism Guideline

The development and implementation of these guidelines is now led by Whaikaha | Ministry of Disabled People. Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People now lead the Guideline and the Living Guideline process, in partnership with the Ministry of Education. Earlier editions of these guidelines and their supporting documents are hosted on the Ministry of Health website.

What is a living guideline?

A living guideline is one that is regularly updated and refined to reflect new evidence and changing user needs. It is distinguished from other processes such as revising or updating by the fact that the updates are part of an agreed programme of ongoing work. Updates have been undertaken annually since 2009.

Updates within the living guideline process are required when the recommendations in the guideline are no longer valid in view of research evidence that has emerged since the Autism Guideline’s literature searches were conducted.

The objective of a living guideline is to be more responsive to the needs of the people for whom it has been written. It not only is alive in the sense that the words are kept up-to-date, it is alive because it has real meaning to those who use it.

Living Guideline Group process

The living guideline process was established in 2009 by the New Zealand Guideline Group. In April 2012, NZGG assigned the contract to INSIGHT Research Limited. INSIGHT Research are responsible for managing the living guideline process as well as conducting the systematic literature reviews that update research evidence on prioritised topics.

The Living Guideline Group (LGG) is a small group of sector experts who annually review evidence related to guideline topics and make new recommendations. Members provide expertise and experience appropriate to the Autism Guideline’s scope and to the living guideline process as well as an awareness of current research developments in the autism field. Ex-officio members of the LGG include representatives from the Ministries of Health and Education, and the Director of INSIGHT Research.

The LGG are responsible for prioritising which topic within the Autism Guideline requires updating. At a face-to-face meeting, the LGG follow a rigorous process of revising, removing or developing new recommendations relating to the updated topic. The recommendations are graded using the NZGG Grading System, also used for the Autism Guideline, based on the quality, quantity, consistency, applicability and clinical impact of the research reviewed. These recommendations should be read alongside the recommendations that are contained within the Autism Guideline.