Skip to main content

To: Ministry of Health

Reclassify Autism and ADHD

Reclassify Autism and ADHD

We call for the Ministry of Health to reclassify ADHD/autism as neurodevelopmental disorders and not as mental health disorders.

Why is this important?

Quick and accurate health diagnosis means people are able to access the medical attention and medications we need with respect and speed.

However in Aotearoa the approach to ADHD/autism is out of date as it is still classified as a mental health disorder. There is a serious lack of diagnostic support.

This means that people are not correctly diagnosed. The diagnosis process is currently not achieving the desired outcomes and affecting daily lives of those seeking a diagnosis of autism / ADHD.

People with ADHD/autism can feel stigmatized to be treated as a mental health patient. It also overloads the mental health system unnecessarily. This is a major public health issue affecting all ethnic groups, social classes and occupational groups: and this found in all government departments.

Reclassification will give recognition that autism is a real inherited neurodevelopmental disorder and reduce stigmatisation.

When ADHD/autism is correctly classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder it means primary medical professionals such as GPs are able to diagnose, authorize medications and care for patients. If ADHD is treated, then it has been proven that Autism is also often treated. This in turn positively affects the children and adults and their families and education, employment and in social situations.

NZ Disability Advisory Trust is the organization leading this petition as voice and lived experience of having staff with ASD Diagnosis.

Reasons for signing

  • For too long the District Health Board's various departments have stuffed up these diagnoses and been allowed to get away with it:
  • It's always been a deveopmental disorder, I'm shocked it was ever classed as a mental health issue. Just sums up the general inability of NZ state services to understand and effectively deal with ADHD. (when we're done can we rename it to something that actually describes it properly as well!)
  • It should never have been defined as a mental health issue.


2021-05-05 17:36:49 +1200

500 signatures reached

2021-05-01 08:16:28 +1200

100 signatures reached

2021-04-30 22:36:40 +1200

50 signatures reached

2021-04-30 18:51:23 +1200

25 signatures reached

2021-04-27 20:29:21 +1200

10 signatures reached