Local News – Hutt City Council Annual Plan about striking the right balance
Source: Hutt City Council
Health News – Government moves on youth vaping inadequate – Asthma and Respiratory Foundation
Source: Asthma and Respiratory Foundation
First Responders – More Kiwi firefighters depart to help battle Canadian blazes
Source: Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Climate News – May climate summary warmest May on record – NIWA
University News – Overhaul in supports for autistic children needed, study shows
Recent research from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington and Autism New Zealand has shown that the way we support autistic children requires a significant shift.
“Starting in the 1980s, autism “interventions” focused on transforming the child to conform with current societal norms and expectations, and make them indistinguishable from their peers,” says Dr Hannah Waddington, Victoria University of Wellington educational psychology researcher. “Children were taught to make eye contact or to hide behaviours associated with autism like passionate interests or ‘stimming’, which are repeated physical movements or vocalisations.”
“This approach has caused a lot of stress for autistic people and their families. Masking autistic behaviour in particular has a hugely negative impact on autistic people’s mental health.”
Lee Patrick, autistic research and advocacy advisor at Autism NZ, who also worked on the new study, says:
“From an autistic adult perspective, many of the things that traditional autism interventions try to reduce or prevent are core parts of me, or things that help me function—my stims are how I show emotions and regulate sensory input, my deep interests are where I find joy, and my understanding of how my autistic brain works is what helps me find strategies to deal with the challenges that being autistic sometimes throws at me.”
“It’s bizarre to me that interventions would focus on taking away the things that make up a child’s personality, or the things that help a child navigate the world, in an attempt to make them pretend to be like their peers.”
Although many of these “interventions” still remain a common part of support for autistic children, research conducted by Dr Waddington, Lee Patrick, and their colleagues has shown that attitudes around supports for autistic children have significantly shifted.
“Our research showed that autistic adults, parents, and clinical professionals in Aotearoa and Australia now prioritise improving the child’s quality of life above all else,” Dr Waddington says. “They also highly prioritise upskilling adults to support autistic children.”
“More and more people understand that autism is a brain-based difference, not a deficit or a disorder, and that most of the difficulties experienced by autistic people come from the fact that society is not set up to support them.”
“As someone diagnosed in adulthood, there was a huge shift from feeling like an outlier in every group to meeting other autistic adults and understanding that I had a community who were like me and could understand and empathise with things I had previously thought no one else experienced. Once autistic adults get to that point, I think it’s a very short step to realising that autistic children deserve the same understanding and empathy, and that they deserve to be treated like autistic people, not defective neurotypicals,” Lee says.
Based on this research, Dr Waddington and her colleagues, including Lee Patrick, are currently working to develop a neurodiversity affirming and culturally responsive programme of support for young autistic children and their whānau.
“In line with the findings of the published article, we will work hard to ensure that this new support prioritises child and whānau quality of life above all else. A huge focus will also be on supporting those around the child such as whānau, educators, and peers to accept and embrace autistic children for who they are,” Dr Waddington says.
This new understanding of, and attitude towards, supporting autistic children must be reflected in support services, Dr Waddington says.
“Many models of support focus on changing what the child does or who they are, rather than changing their environment. Models should instead focus on quality of life for autistic children and their whānau—for example, if a child becomes upset during a support session, the priority should be understanding the reason for the child’s distress and addressing it, rather than trying to push through and focus on other goals. This approach will be much better for the wellbeing of the child and their family in the long-term.”
Professionals need to realise that community priorities have changed when it comes to supporting autistic children, and they need to change their services to adapt.
“Organisations also need to work together with autistic people to develop services that are the truly neurodiversity affirming. Society needs to change to be more accepting and inclusive of neurodivergent people. Services also need to be adequately funded to provide the time and space for professionals to make these changes.”
Commerce News – Infrastructure key to the continued success of Canterbury
Source: Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce
Health Food News – NZ plant-based food brand Angel Food adds Dairy-Free Sour Cream to its range
New Zealand’s number one plant-based food brand, Angel Food, has added a gorgeous Dairy-Free Sour Cream to its range of delicious vegan foods.
With the same creamy, ‘dollop-able’ texture of dairy sour cream, and made without gluten, nuts or soy, Angel Food Dairy-Free Sour Cream is safe for allergy sufferers and those following plant-based diets (including vegan) to enjoy.
Traditional sour cream is made with dairy, is non-vegan, and in most cases, is also non-vegetarian, as it contains gelatine (an animal by-product), so it’s great to be able to provide sour cream lovers with a dairy-free alternative that’s both tasty and animal friendly!
Alice Shopland, Founder of Angel Food, said:
“We’re proud to launch our Dairy-Free Sour Cream, which was a real labour of love as it proved to be technically challenging creating an entirely plant-based product that was thick and velvety with a clean and creamy mouthfeel. By using the latest technologies, and making 15 iterations of the recipe, we developed an innovative product that we believe has the best texture of ANY plant-based sour cream in the market, both here in NZ and abroad. People who have tried the product have been astounded with both the flavour and texture, so we’re confident that we’ve created a sour cream alternative that’s truly hard to beat.”
Sour Cream is a highly versatile, much-loved cooking and baking ingredient that can be used in a wealth of recipes or as a final topping for a wide variety of dishes. Dollop it on top of your favourite Mexican foods, add a spoonful on top of a piping hot bowl of chilli or soup, use it as a dip for tortilla chips or veggies, add to sauces to give them a lovely creaminess, or amp up your salad dressings – the options are endless!
Since 2006, Alice and the Angel Food team has been striving to make plant-based food mainstream via its range of delicious NZ-made vegan foods that are suitable for all diets, whether that be vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian – without having to forgo favourite foods. With a range of scrumptious vegan foods that are very close to their dairy-based alternatives, it makes it easier for everyone to choose plant-based meals more often and eat more sustainably.
Angel Food Dairy-Free Sour Cream is available nationwide across New Zealand from Countdown and selected New World stores, as well as independent retailers. RRP $7.50 (240g).
Environment News – Lawyer says New Zealand treating Southeast Asia as its ‘rubbish bin’ for plastic waste
A Malaysian lawyer who petitioned for New Zealand to stop sending plastic recycling to developing countries will be facing off against industry groups in Parliament tomorrow. This Thursday morning, petition leader Lydia Chai will argue for a ban on all plastic waste exports during oral submissions to the Environment Select Committee.
Lydia Chai, who is based in Auckland, said that large amounts of the plastic waste are being illegally dumped or burned near her hometown and other locations in Malaysia. This is due to poor law enforcement, corruption, and Malaysia’s lack of capacity to process the world’s waste. The result is that residents close to the processing plants suffer increased health problems, and the local environment has become severely polluted.
“After China imposed stricter controls on its waste imports in 2018, the world scrambled to find another destination for its rubbish,” explains Chai. “Since then, Malaysia and the rest of beautiful Southeast Asia has become the world’s rubbish bin.”
In the last six years, New Zealand has exported more than 200 million kilograms of plastic waste.
“With these eye-watering amounts, how can you not expect the plastics to leach into the environment?” says Chai.
Chai says that as long as OECD countries see plastic waste exports as an viable option, the problem will not go away. She thinks an outright ban will incentivise New Zealand to process more waste domestically, as well as reduce its plastic consumption. 11,500 people signed Chai’s petition.
Industry groups such as Plastics New Zealand and the Waste & Recycling Industry Forum have made submissions to oppose Chai’s petition. The oral submissions will be livestreamed on the Environment Select Committee Facebook Page at 10:40AM on Thursday 8 June 2023:https://www.facebook.com/environmentSCNZ/
“I am so angry that rubbish from all these OECD countries is making my home country dirtier and less healthy to live in,” says Chai. “New Zealanders want to do the right thing, and if we all knew what really happens to our recycling, I think all of us in New Zealand would want the exports to stop, too.”
– Parliament has published Lydia Chai’s written evidence here: https://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/53SCEN_EVI_125457_EN10367/032f1260f3a58cdd81eaa83e4ef8da0e50b23a27
– Lydia Chai’s petition calls for a ban on plastic waste exports to developing countries:https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/stop-sending-our-plastic-waste-to-developing-countries
– For New Zealand plastic waste export data, see Statistics NZ tool or https://statisticsnz.shinyapps.io/wellbeingindicators/_w_585661d5/?page=indicators&class=Environment&type=Waste&indicator=Export%20of%20waste%20(net%20and%20gross)