Wellington opens Australasia's first specialised autism resource centre

Wellington has become the first city in Australasia to open a specialised autism centre.

The Autism Resource Centre, which opened on Thursday, aims to provide help to tens of thousands of autistic children and adults through effective development tools.

Autism New Zealand began designing the centre five years ago after seeing a lack of support in the public health system.

Chief executive Dane Dougan says when most parents get an autism diagnosis, they get "a pat on the back and a couple of brochures". He's hoping the new centre will help change that.

"What we're trying to achieve is you come in and get a diagnosis, and then meet our Wellington outreach team straight away."

The centre is custom-built with lights which can be dimmed and walls with sound filtration.

Dougan says the sensory-friendly environment will ensure people with autism get the help they need.

"The earlier we can intervene, the better chance the child has to go on to live their full potential."

Victoria University runs a clinic in the centre, and Hannah Waddington says having a one-stop-shop for autism will make a huge difference.

"Having multiple professionals and multiple different organisations within the one place, it means you just have to come to one place for these services which is a lot easier for families."

Two-year-old Daniel Paranga is going through the process of being diagnosed with autism.

His mum Golda says the new centre will be a great help for families.

"This is amazing for families, especially for families with kids with problems so this place is like a hub."

For families like Daniel's, his mum Golda says the centre gives her more hope for her son's future.