Altogether Autism applauds Education Amendment Bill’s seclusion stance

11 May 2017 – New Zealand’s leading provider of research-based autism information today acknowledged the historic passing of the third and final reading of the Education (Update) Amendment Bill, which prohibits the use of seclusion in schools and early childhood services, and creates a legislative framework for the appropriate use of physical restraint in schools.

Altogether Autism national manager Catherine Trezona says she agrees with Education Minister Nikki Kaye’s comment in Parliament today that:  “there is no situation where it is acceptable for children and young people to be secluded.”

“We made our position very clear late last year on seclusion,” said Ms Trezona.

“Altogether Autism does not support the use of seclusion, where a person is placed in isolation in a room or area from where they cannot voluntarily exit.

“Seclusion is a violation of human rights and may result in damage to a person’s wellbeing.”

Altogether Autism supports the planned use of respite.

“Respite is the removal of a person to a safe place with minimal sensory stimulation (such as loud noise and bright lights) for a specific short period of time,” said Ms Trezona who developed Altogether Autism’s position on seclusion in November last year in consultation with clinical psychologist Jenny Gibbs, Paula Jessop, Consumer Reference Group member and autism advocate, and Nan Jensen, Professional Expert Group member and solicitor.

See: Autism organisation takes strong stance on seclusion use

  • Altogether Autism is part of Life Unlimited Charitable Trust which offers health and disability information, advice and equipment to enable people to live the life they choose.


Catherine Trezona – National Manager

M.A. Psychology (1st Hons.)  Catherine joined Altogether Autism as a researcher, and moved into a managerial role in 2015. She is one of the programme developers and lead facilitators for PRISM, our specialist autism training for professionals.

Catherine completed a Master’s degree in health psychology at Massey University in 2014. Her master’s research centred on the lived experiences of children and their parents as participants of Bodywise, a child weight management programme run by the Waikato DHB and Sport Waikato.



Jenny Gibbs – Clinical Psychologist

Jenny Gibbs is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked at the Child Development Centre at Waikato Hospital for the past 20 years. She has had a strong interest in Autism spectrum disorders. Since March 2008, Jenny has been a member of the Altogether Autism Professional Expert Group.

In 2009 Jenny was a member of a reference group, which gave input into the development of a training toolkit on ASD assessment, diagnosis and clinical management for paediatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists. She was subsequently invited to co-present this training to these professional groups.

Jenny is in her second term as a representative of the Central North Island Allied Health and Nursing Members, on the Council of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand.