There are many organisations and groups around the country that you can get in touch with for practical support, advice, resources and contact details of specialists.
It is really valuable to be able to talk with people who understand what it's like to parent or care for a child with learning support needs.
These organisations and groups provide support to parents or carers. Some of them also have databases of their members so if you're looking for a specialist in your area they may be able to help with this.
An umbrella organisation representing people with disabilities, the organisations involved in advocacy on their behalf, and service providers. DPA has a network of regional assemblies who advocate on local issues.
The Advocacy Team promotes social change to create a just and equitable world for people with an intellectual disability. The Advocacy Toolkit includes information sheets on navigating the special education system and on transition. Freephone 0800 442 442
Health and Disability Commissioner Promotes and protects the rights of health and disability services consumers and facilitates the resolution of complaints. Freephone 0800 11 22 33
Works across government agencies to support progress on disability issues. Their work is underpinned by the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Human Rights Commission Advocates and promotes respect for human rights in New Zealand, provides information to the public about discrimination and resolves complaints about discrimination. InfoLine 0800 496 877
Altogether Autism Provides information about the services for people with autism spectrum disorders, the people who can give you expert advice and where you can find more information.
New Zealand ASD Guideline Guidelines for recognising and treating ASD, supporting children and adults with ASD, teaching children and young adults with ASD, employing people with ASD and living well with ASD.
Autism New Zealand Provides support, training, advocacy, resources and information on autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger syndrome. Freephone 0800 AUTISM (288 476)
'Tips for autism’ ‘tips for autism’ is a course where a team of people dedicates three days to developing interventions and plans to support their particular child with ASD.
CCS Disability Action Works in partnership with disabled people, their families and whānau to ensure equality of opportunity, quality of life and an environment that enhances full community integration and participation. Also provides the nationwide Mobility Parking Permit Scheme. Contact your local branch for services and support. Freephone 0800 227 2255
Enable New Zealand Delivers a range of services, including equipment and housing modification services for the health and disability sector. Similar services in Auckland/ Northland are provided by Accessable. Freephone 0800 17 19 81
Te Kete Ipurangi – The Online Learning Centre A bilingual portal and web community that provides quality assured educational material for New Zealand teachers, school managers and the wider education community. Also links to the New Zealand Curriculum, National Standards and NCEA information.
Ministry of Education Ministry of Education information outlining how the New Zealand education system works and the education agencies that are involved in supporting our education system.
Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) (Formerly known as The Correspondence School) Provides distance education from early childhood level to Year 13 to thousands of students every year from a wide range of backgrounds with diverse learning needs.
Work and Income New Zealand Provides financial assistance and employment services for New Zealanders needing job search support, financial assistance and in-work support. Freephone 0800 559 009
Careers Services – Mana Rapuara Aotearoa A Government agency that aims to provide all people living in New Zealand with access to the best careers information, advice and guidance to achieve their life goals. Freephone 0800 222 733
Workbridge A professional employment service for people with all types of disability, including people who have lived with the long-term effects of injury and illness.
Allergy New Zealand Provides information, education and support to the many thousands of New Zealanders living with allergies, including those at risk of anaphylaxis.
Heart Children Dedicated to providing support for children with heart conditions and their families and whānau. Freephone 0800 543 943
Arthritis New Zealand Provides information, education, advice and support to people with arthritis and their families. Provides support groups and referrals to local therapy and service providers. Freephone 0800 663 463
Kidney Kids A parent organisation set up to meet the needs of children who have kidney disorders and their families and whānau. Freephone 0800 215 437
Ministry of Health – Disability Support Services (DSS) Responsible for planning and funding disability support services. Many of the services DSS funds are accessed through a Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service. NASCs work with disabled people to help identify their needs and to outline what disability support services are available. They allocate Ministry-funded support services and assist with accessing other supports.
Asthma Foundation Advocates to Government and raises awareness of respiratory illnesses, funds research for better treatments and educates on best practice, provides resources on its website and supports 18 affiliated asthma societies to provide education, support and advice services.
Cerebral Palsy Society Provides information and support for people with cerebral palsy. Freephone 0800 503 603
Rare Disorders NZ Helps people with rare diseases and their families and whānau through providing access to support groups, clinicians and researchers.
Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand Provides an information service about cystic fibrosis (CF), promotes public awareness, provides support for people with CF and their families, provides educational opportunities for people with CF, provides a voice to Government agencies on behalf of the CF community, encourages and funds CF research.
New Zealand Spinal Trust Provides information, resources and support for everyone with spinal cord injuries, their families, friends, caregivers and health professionals.
Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand Provides access to information and services, offers awareness training, facilitates ongoing research, lobbies for better access to opportunities and services, promotes New Zealand Sign Language.
Deaf Children New Zealand Provides members with information, assistive equipment subsidies, tutor fee assistance, scholarships for tertiary students and subsidies for Deaf Youth Camp.
Kelston Deaf Education Centre A residential special school that provides services for deaf and hearing impaired children, their families and professionals throughout Auckland, Northland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. Also has New Zealand Sign Language resources available to all families across New Zealand.
van Asch Deaf Education Centre Provides a residential school in Christchurch, as well as services and support for mainstream students and their teachers. Provides educational programmes and special related services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and their families, in the lower half of the North Island and the South Island.
IHC Library The IHC Library has information on all aspects of intellectual disability.
Hohepa Establishes and maintains homes, schools, organic farms and day services throughout New Zealand for the care, support and education of intellectually disabled young people and adults.
IHC and IDEA Services IHC advocates for the rights, inclusion and welfare of all people with an intellectual disability. IDEA Services, under the IHC umbrella, provides a range of support and services to help people with an intellectual disability to live satisfying lives in the community. Freephone 0800 442 442
Dyslexia Foundation Provides a voice for, and services to, New Zealanders with dyslexia as well as to those supporting them.
SPELD Provides information, assessment and tuition to families, whānau, schools and individuals living with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. Freephone 0800 773 536
Informs and supports families/whānau whose lives have been changed by Down Syndrome, promotes and advocates for positive attitudes and inclusion. Freephone 0800 693 724
Parent to Parent A support and information network for parents of children with special needs – support is provided voluntarily by trained support parents who have a child with the same or similar needs.
Disability Connect An Auckland-based centre supporting parents and families of disabled children and young people. Phone 09 636 0351
SKIP A positive parenting programme supporting parents and caregivers of children under 5 to have loving and healthy relationships with their children.
Blind Sport New Zealand Promotes opportunities for blind athletes to participate in national and international events, and the Paralympics.
Riding for the Disabled Confidence, independence and wellbeing for people with disabilities, through therapeutic horse riding and horse care.
Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation. Sport opportunity advisers are based at regional sports trusts nationwide.
Special Olympics New Zealand Year-round programme of sports training and competition for young people and adults with an intellectual disability. Athletes can be as young as five and there is no upper age limit.
Paralympics New Zealand Supports and encourages opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in sports from regional, national and international levels.
Deafblind Association New Zealand A not for profit organisation who advocate on behalf of deaf-blind people. Support groups can be found in Auckland, Waikato, and Canterbury.
Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ) A school that is made up of a national network of educational services for blind and low vision children and young people. Provides a variety of educational options both on campus and at local mainstream schools for people aged 5 to 21. Also provides assessment services for blind and low vision students throughout New Zealand.
Ngāti Kāpo O Aotearoa A national consumer-driven Māori service provider offering kaupapa Māori-based disability support services to blind and visually impaired Māori and their whānau. Phone 06 878 9440
Blind + Low Foundation The Blind Foundation provides sight loss habilitation and rehabilitation services to New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision. Freephone 0800 24 33 33