Spurred on by young son's experience Kiwi mum raises $7k for group of teachers to better understand autism

A Manawatu mother fundraised enough money to train 34 teachers to better understand children with autism, in a bid to stop other children with autism experiencing the same treatment as her son. 

Sarah Blythe told Fairfax, teachers said her son Neko at 6-years-old did not have autism and instead was a naughty child who needed better parenting, despite an early intervention team saying he was on the autism spectrum at four. 

He was provided with a teacher's aide, but Ms Blythe said they weren't used only for her son. 

Neko moved to a school in Fielding, where his social skill improved, as did his reading and writing, according to Stuff. 

Ms Blythe then decided to help other children, by raising $7,000 which goes towards 34 teachers from the region attending a day-long Altogether Autism course next week, to teach them to have a better understanding of students with autism. 

"Every teacher deserves the right training and every autistic child needs a teacher to understand them. We need to remember not every disability is visible."

A woman holds hands with her child.



Accused Kiwi conman's partner arrested in Australia on multiple charges including indecent assault

The partner of a New Zealand man who was deported from Australia over two years ago after the couple arrived in Sydney on a stolen yacht has herself now been arrested in Australia on multiple charges including supplying ecstasy to a 15-year-old girl and indecently assaulting her.

Christchurch Police have told TVNZ tonight that Australian Federal Police, acting on New Zealand-endorsed extradition warrants, arrested Simone Smith, AKA Simone Wright, in New South Wales on Tuesday this week.

She was arrested on charges of supplying a girl aged 15 with the class B drug ecstasy, the indecent assault of the same girl, multiple charges of fraud and theft of a yacht, Detective Craig Farrant of Christchurch Police said. 

She has been remanded in custody to reappear in court in Australia on September 28.  

Her partner, Paul James Bennett, was arrested in Australia when the couple arrived in Sydney on a stolen yacht from New Zealand.

Bennett was deported back to New Zealand on May 13, 2016. He was taken into custody at Christchurch Airport and taken to court next day on 48 charges stretching back to 2008.  

These were 28 charges of dishonestly using documents or obtaining funds, 10 of forgery, five of theft, three of supplying a girl aged 15 with the class B drug ecstasy, and two of indecently assaulting the same girl. 

The total involved in the alleged dishonesty offending is $567,000 and Bennett's case is currently proceeding before the court.

Bennett had been on the run until being arrested aboard a yacht moored on the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney in February 2016 .

The yacht had been stolen from the Bay of Islands the previous year.

Simone Wright and Paul James Bennett..

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Temporary relocation of Auckland City Mission ruffles some neighbours' feathers

Auckland City Mission is moving temporarily while the original site used since 1980 is being upgraded.

"Spider" has been homeless since the early 1980s.

"It’s virtually my second home really, I’ve been here since the early 80s and I’ve seen it all."

The temporary location is just 700m away on Union Street and will be based there for the next two years while its Hobson Street premises undergoes a makeover.

The revamped facility will have 80 secure apartments and a 30 bed detox centre.

"Spider" says, "It has been a long time coming, very much so, it is about time we had a change."

The temporary location will continue to offer a variety of services and the mission is promising better care.

"We want to give people good space to eat," says the mission's CEO Chris Farrelly.

"Kai is not just about filling the belly, it's about a place of engagement," she says.

1 NEWS spoke to some parents and neighbours who have reservations about the mission moving to Union Street, because the crossing that children use to get to and from school sits right outside the mission's front door.

"Sometimes they do you know drugs and smokes, so I’m not really comfortable," person said.

Mr Farrelly says, "First and foremost we’ve listened and we really hear those concerns so we will have more staff at certain time of the day as an example on the streets when there are children on the streets."

The City Mission will host it's final dinner at Hobson Street tonight, before creating a new community in central Auckland tomorrow.

It’s moving temporarily while the original premises get an upgrade. Source: 1 NEWS

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New staff in all schools to help students with learning disabilities, Government promises

After years of teachers and parents pleading for help, more support will be given to students with learning disabilities.

Associate education minister Tracey Martin is promising more support and assessment for kids with extra needs, with a new learning support co-ordinator role to be established within schools.

IHC advocacy director Trish Grant welcomed the move, telling 1 NEWS that: "This is recognition from Government that the system is broken, and they're up for a big change."

However, while the move is being welcomed by those within the industry, doubts over cost loom over any proposed changes.

Ms Martin didn't allay fears in any way, admitting that there was no estimate as to what costs may or may not be involved.

"I need to know what the job description is," she said. "When you know what the job description is, you know what the skill level is and what the pay grade will be."

One mother spoke to 1 NEWS about the difficulties children with learning disabilities face, saying that the proposed changes are long overdue.

"I have a son who is six years old with a diagnosis of ADHD, so what you'd call atypical neurology, and we've had a real struggle trying to access any support for him through the education system.

"We've had a lot of great support through health with a paediatrician and an occupational therapist and support from child and adolescent mental health but basically zero support through education which is really frustrating and quite exhausting as a parent."

Funding will be needed from next year's budget, with any proposed changes likely to be implemented in 2020 at the earliest.

The Government’s promise comes after years of teachers, parents crying out for more help. Source: 1 NEWS


Chilly weather in store for much of the country with cold front set to hit Sunday

Chilly weather is in store for much of the country as a cold front sweeps over much of New Zealand from late Sunday and into Monday.

MetService says, "this front is forecast to deliver a cold and showery south to southwest flow across New Zealand, with snow lowering to 200 to 300 metres over the South Island, and possibly 500 to 600 metres across the lower North Island."

TVNZ weather presenter Dan Corbett gives the latest update. Source: 1 NEWS

But New Zealanders should expect a fine Saturday with the exception being the northern tip and the east coast of the North Island.

With Auckland getting to 20 degrees and most places in the South Island getting to 15-16 degrees.

MetService says late Tuesday, another front is forecast to approach the far south of New Zealand, and the west to southwest flow ahead of this front should strengthen.