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.
Barnardos Provides child and family services, early childhood care and education, and information and advocacy. www.barnardos.org.nz
Parent Help Provides a national helpline for parents and caregivers to get help for any parenting issue, from the everyday to the most serious. www.parenthelp.org.nz Freephone 0800 568 856
Citizens Advice Bureau Provides information, assistance and referral to people in our communities. www.cab.org.nz Freephone 0800 367 222
Plunket Provides support services for the development, health and wellbeing of children under the age of 5. www.plunket.org.nz Plunketline 0800 933 922
Kidshealth For New Zealand parents and caregivers. Includes A – Z of support groups and links to support for parents. www.kidshealth.org.nz
Skylight Helps children and young people deal with change, loss, trauma and grief. www.skylight.org.nz
Freephone 0800 299 100
Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) New Zealand
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. www.dpa.org.nz
IHC Advocacy 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. www.ihc.org.nz/advocacy 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. www.hdc.org.nz Freephone 0800 11 22 33
The Office for Disability Issues
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. www.hrc.co.nz InfoLine 0800 496 877
The Office of the Ombudsman
Helps the community in its dealings with government agencies and handles any complaints against government agencies.
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. www.altogetherautism.org.nz
TalkLink Links people who need help with speaking, writing, learning and environment control with the right technologies. Can offer free specialist assessment services to eligible clients. www.talklink.org.nz
New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists Association The professional association for speech-language therapists
in New Zealand. Also has information for parents and/or carers and families on speech-language therapy. www.speechtherapy.org.nz
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. www.ccsdisabilityaction.org.nz 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. www.enable.co.nz Freephone 0800 17 19 81
Wellington Early Intervention Trust (WEIT) A therapy-based service for children aged 0 - 5 with special needs. www.weit.org.nz
McKenzie Centre An early intervention service in the Hamilton region for young children with special needs and their families. www.mckenziecentre.nzl.org
Inclusive website The hub for a number of websites that share New Zealand Curriculum resources, discussions and community interaction with a focus on accessibility and access for all. www.inclusive.org.nz
New Zealand Council for Educational Research Conducts research and provides research-based knowledge, advice, products and services to everyone with an interest in education. www.nzcer.org.nz
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. www.tki.org.nz
New Zealand Education Information Ministry of Education information outlining how the New Zealand education system works and the education agencies that are involved in supporting our education system. www.education.govt.nz Learning Support information line 0800 622 222
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. www.correspondence.school.nz
Employment and transition
Association of Supported Employment New Zealand (ASENZ) Improves and expands inclusive employment opportunities and services for people with disabilities – provides a list of local supported employment providers. www.asenz.org.nz
Work and Income New Zealand
Provides financial assistance and employment
services for New Zealanders needing job search
support, financial assistance and in-work support.
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. www.careers.govt.nz
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. www.workbridge.co.nz
Allergy New Zealand Provides information, education and support to the many thousands of New Zealanders living with allergies, including those at risk of anaphylaxis. www.allergy.org.nz
Heart Children Dedicated to providing support for children with heart conditions and their families and whānau. www.heartchildren.org.nz 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. www.arthritis.org.nz 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. www.kidneykids.org.nz Freephone 0800 215 437
Arthrogryposis Group New Zealand Provides support and assistance to people with arthrogryposis and their families and whänau. www.arthrogryposis.org.nz Phone 06 343 3394
Ministry of Health – Disability Support Services 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. www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf
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. www.asthmanz.co.nz
Muscular Dystrophy Association
Provides support and information to people living with a neuromuscular condition.
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. www.cfnz.org.nz
New Zealand Spinal Trust Provides information, resources and support for everyone with spinal cord injuries, their families, friends, caregivers and health professionals. www.nzspinaltrust.org.nz
Diabetes New Zealand Offers support and education for people with diabetes. www.diabetes.org.nz
New Zealand Williams Syndrome Association
Provides help and support for families with a child or adult with williams syndrome, and resources for parents and/or carers, teachers, employers and medical professionals.
Epilepsy New Zealand Education, information and support services for people with epilepsy, their families and professionals. Provides seizure management planning advice. www.epilepsy.org.nz Freephone 0800 37 45 37
Prader-Willi Syndrome Association
Provides education, information and support for people with PWS and their families and whānau.
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.
New Zealand Federation for Deaf Children Provides members with information, assistive equipment subsidies, tutor fee assistance, scholarships for tertiary students and subsidies for Deaf Youth Camp. www.deafchildren.org.nz
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. www.kdec.school.nz
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. www.vanasch.school.nz
New Zealand Audiological Society Promotes excellence in hearing care by advancing the profession of audiology through leadership, advocacy and education. www.audiology.org.nz
Information and library services
Allan Bean Centre Library New Zealand Spinal Trust library based at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch. A comprehensive collection of resources on disability and rehabilitation. www.nzspinaltrust.org.nz/library
People First Disability Information and Advisory Service Information for people with learning disabilities, their families, whānau and for people interested in self advocacy for people with a learning disability. www.peoplefirst.org.nz Freephone 0800 206 070
CCS Disability Action – Information Service A national library and information service based in Wellington. Freephone 0800 227 200
New Zealand Federation of Disability Information Centres A national network of community based disability information and referral services. www.nzfdic.org.nz Freephone 0800 693 343
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. www.hohepa.com
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. www.ihc.org.nz Freephone 0800 442 442
Dyslexia Foundation Provides a voice for, and services to, New Zealanders with dyslexia as well as to those supporting them. www.dyslexiafoundation.org.nz
SPELD Provides information, assessment and tuition to families, whänau, schools and individuals living with dyslexia and other specific learning disabilities. www.speld.org.nz Freephone 0800 773 536
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. www.parent2parent.org.nz
Parent and Family Resource Centre An Auckland-based centre supporting parents and families of disabled children and young people. www.parentandfamily.org.nz 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.
Paralympics New Zealand Supports and encourages opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in sports from regional, national and international levels. www.paralympics.org.nz
Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand Advocates on behalf of its members and blind and vision impaired New Zealanders to Government. Provides blindness and disability-specific services. www.abcnz.org.nz
Deafblind (NZ) Incorporated A not for profit organisation who advocate on behalf of deafblind people. Support groups can be found in Auckland, Waikato, and Canterbury. www.deafblindnz.org.nz
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. www.inclusive.org.nz/blennz
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. www.kapomaori.com Phone 06 878 9440
(Legal name Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind)
The Blind Foundation provides sight loss habilitation and rehabilitation
services to New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision.