Recently I was fortunate enough to attend a course run by Dr Carolyn Webster-Stratton, the developer of the Incredible Years Teacher and Parent Programmes.

The Incredible Years is training programme that promotes social and emotional competence in children. If you’d like to find out more about the Incredible Years, you can read more about it here.

Dr Webster-Stratton was visiting New Zealand to train a group of Accredited Group Leaders to deliver her new ‘Helping Children with Autism’ programmes. Twenty Accredited Group Leaders and four mentors attended the training for the Parent Programme.

Sixteen facilitators and two mentors from the whole of New Zealand attended the training for the Teacher Programme.  Auckland was represented by two staff from the Ministry of Education and myself.

It was such a pleasure to be in a learning environment with other professionals who were equally as passionate about working with children and learning how we can better support young learners who have more specific needs. It also created a great forum for us to share experiences and learn from each other as well as from Dr Webster-Stratton.

‘Helping Children with Autism’ is a programme that has been tailored for children from two to five years of age. This programme uses many of the same strategies as The Incredible Years Teacher Programme which promotes pro-social behaviour and emotional confidence. However, this programme has been tailored for children on the autism spectrum. These strategies are so powerful for all children, including those who may have language and developmental delays, difficulties with emotional regulation and attachment, in addition to a need for behaviour management. This programme will support those children, along with their teachers and whānau, with relevant and effective strategies.

One of the key messages from the day was “the earlier the intervention, the better”

Another exciting fact is that New Zealand is the first country in the world to roll this programme out. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned with all of our fabulous teachers and children in the months to come!


– Ruth Fleury, Positive Behaviour Specialist