Groups that can support you

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.

If you would like your group to be included on this list email us at parents@education.govt.nz.

General

Barnardos(external link) 
Provides child and family services,
early childhood care and education,   
and information and advocacy.

Parent Help(external link)
Provides a national helpline for 
parents and caregivers to get help
for any parenting issue, from the  
everyday to the most serious.  
Freephone 0800 568 856

Citizens Advice Bureau(external link)
Provides information, assistance
and referral to people in our
communities.
Freephone 0800 367 222

Plunket(external link)
Provides support services for the 
development, health and wellbeing 
of children under the age of 5.
Plunketline 0800 933 922

 

KidsHealth(external link)
For New Zealand parents and
caregivers. Includes A – Z of
support groups and links to
support for parents.

Skylight(external link)
Helps children and young people deal 
with change, loss, trauma and grief.
Freephone 0800 299 100

Advocacy

Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) New Zealand(external link)

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.

IHC Advocacy(external link)

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(external link)
Promotes and protects the rights
of health and disability services
consumers and facilitates the
resolution of complaints.
Freephone 0800 11 22 33

The Office for Disability Issues(external link)

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(external link)
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

The Office of the Ombudsman(external link)

Helps the community in its dealings with
government agencies and handles any complaints
against government agencies.

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 Autism Spectrum Disorder

Altogether Autism(external link)
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(external link)
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(external link)
Provides support, training, advocacy,
resources and information on
autism spectrum disorders,
including Asperger syndrome.
Freephone 0800 AUTISM (288 476)

'Tips for autism’(external link)
‘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.

Cloud 9 Children’s Foundation(external link)
Information about Asperger syndrome.

 

Behaviour

ADHD Online (also mentions advocacy)(external link)

Provides information and support
for parents and/or carers of children with ADHD.

Communication

Dyspraxia Support Group(external link)
Support group for parents and
caregivers of children with dyspraxia   
that aims to help children to learn
and achieve their potential.
TalkLink(external link)
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.

New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists Association(external link)
The professional association for speech-language therapists 
in New Zealand. Also has information for parents and/or carers
and families on speech-language therapy.

 

Disability

CCS Disability Action(external link)
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(external link)
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

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Early intervention

Champion Centre(external link)
An early intervention service for
infants and young children with
developmental delay.
Ohomairangi Trust(external link)
An early intervention service in the
Auckland region for young children
with special needs and their families.
Particular focus on services for Māori.
NZ Foundation for Conductive Education(external link)
Early childhood education for
children with cerebral palsy and
other motor disorders.
Wellington Early Intervention Trust (WEIT)(external link)
A therapy-based service for children
aged 0 - 5 with special needs.
McKenzie Centre(external link)
An early intervention service in the
Hamilton region for young children
with special needs and their families.
 

Education

Inclusive Education website(external link)
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.

Regional health schools
Provide teachers for children at home
or in hospital so that they continue
their education when they are too
sick to go to their usual school.

Upper half of North Island:
www.nhs.school.nz(external link)
Lower half of North Island:
www.centralregionalhealth.school.nz(external link)
South Island:
www.srhs.school.nz(external link)

New Zealand Council for Educational Research(external link)
Conducts research and provides
research-based knowledge, advice,
products and services to everyone
with an interest in education.

Te Kete Ipurangi – The Online Learning Centre(external link)
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 (external link)
Ministry of Education information
outlining how the New Zealand
education system works and
the education agencies that
are involved in supporting our
education system.

Learning Support information line
0800 622 222
Email: special.education@education.govt.nz

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) (external link)
(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.

Employment and transition

Association of Supported Employment New Zealand (ASENZ)(external link)
Improves and expands inclusive
employment opportunities and
services for people with disabilities
– provides a list of local supported
employment providers.

Work and Income New Zealand(external link)
Provides financial assistance and employment services 
for New Zealanders needing job search support, 
financial assistance and in-work support.
Freephone 0800 559 009

Careers NZ(external link)
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(external link)
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.

Health-related

Allergy New Zealand(external link)
Provides information, education and support to the many thousands of New Zealanders living with allergies, including those at risk of anaphylaxis.
Heart Kids(external link)
Dedicated to providing support for children with heart conditions and their families and whānau.
Freephone 0800 543 943
Arthritis New Zealand(external link)
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(external link)
A parent organisation set up to meet the needs of children who have kidney disorders and their families and whānau.
Freephone 0800 215 437
Arthrogryposis Group New Zealand(external link)
Provides support and assistance to people with arthrogryposis and their families and whānau.
Phone 06 343 3394
Ministry of Health – Disability Support Services (DSS)(external link)
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(external link)
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.

Muscular Dystrophy Association(external link)
Provides support and information to people living with a neuromuscular condition.
Freephone 0800 800 337

Cerebral Palsy Society(external link)
Provides information and support for people with cerebral palsy. 
Freephone 0800 503 603

Rare Disorders NZ(external link)
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(external link)
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(external link)
Provides information, resources and support for everyone with spinal cord injuries, their families, friends, caregivers and health professionals.
Diabetes New Zealand(external link)
Offers support and education for people with diabetes.

New Zealand Williams Syndrome Association(external link)

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(external link)
Education, information and support services for people with epilepsy, their families and professionals. Provides seizure management planning advice.
Freephone 0800 37 45 37

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) Association(external link)

Provides education, information and support for people with PWS and their families and whānau.
Freephone 0800 479 743

Cleft New Zealand(external link)
Support network for people with a cleft lip and/or palate.
Freephone 0800 425 338
 

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Hearing

Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand(external link)
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(external link)
Provides members with
information, assistive equipment
subsidies, tutor fee assistance,
scholarships for tertiary students
and subsidies for Deaf Youth Camp.

Kelston Deaf Education Centre(external link)
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(external link)
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.

New Zealand Audiological Society(external link)
Promotes excellence in hearing
care by advancing the profession
of audiology through leadership,
advocacy and education.

 

Information and library services

Allan Bean Centre Library(external link)
New Zealand Spinal Trust library
based at Burwood Hospital in
Christchurch. A comprehensive
collection of resources on disability
and rehabilitation.

People First NZ(external link)
Information for people with
learning disabilities, their families,
whānau and for people interested
in self advocacy for people with a
learning disability.
Freephone 0800 206 070

CCS Disability Action – Information Service(external link)
A national library and information
service based in Wellington.
Freephone 0800 227 200

New Zealand Federation of
Disability Information Centres
(external link)

A national network of community based
disability information and
referral services.
Freephone 0800 693 343

IHC Library(external link)
The IHC Library has information on
all aspects of intellectual disability.

 

Intellectual disabilities

Hohepa(external link)
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(external link)
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

Learning difficulties

Dyslexia Foundation(external link)
Provides a voice for, and services
to, New Zealanders with dyslexia as
well as to those supporting them.

SPELD(external link)
Provides information, assessment and
tuition to families, whānau, schools
and individuals living with dyslexia
and other specific learning disabilities.
Freephone 0800 773 536

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Māori

There are a number of local Māori groups around the country that can support you.  Here are some of them. Ask the kaitakawaenga at your local Ministry of Education learning support office(external link) for more in your area.

Ngā Kura ā Iwi(external link)
Supports Kura ā Iwi.
Ask your Kaitakawaenga for contact details.

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust(external link)
The governing body for Kōhanga
Reo, providing the support needed
by Kōhanga Reo.

Kotahi Mano Kāika(external link)
Website to support families and
whānau who want to start using
te reo Māori in their daily lives.

Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa(external link)
Te Rūnanga Nui supports, protects and gives direction
to the development of Kura Kaupapa Māori.

Migrants and refugees

Immigration New Zealand(external link)
Information for people who are
thinking about moving to
New Zealand – includes information
about education.

Refugee Council of New Zealand(external link)
A national organisation that
provides advice, information and
assistance to asylum-seekers and
refugees in New Zealand.

Ezispeak(external link)
A telephone interpreting service
that offers clients of participating
agencies free interpretation in 40
different languages.
Freephone 0800 453 771

Red Cross(external link)
Helping refugees to re-settle and other services
including help to find employment.

New Zealand Now(external link)
An Immigration New Zealand website
describing life in New Zealand.

 


Mental health and support

Depression(external link)
Aims to help New Zealanders
recognise and understand depression.
Freephone 0800 111 757

Samaritans(external link)
Freephone 0800 726 666

Youthline(external link)
Freephone 0800 376 633

The Lowdown(external link)
This website is aimed at helping
young New Zealanders understand
and deal with depression.
Free text 5626 for help

Lifeline(external link)
Freephone 0800 543 354

What’s Up(external link)
A national free phone counselling
service for 5 to 18 olds.
Freephone 0800 942 8787

Mental Health Foundation(external link)
Promotes wellbeing and mental
health for all ages. Provides a
resource and information service.

 

Parent and/or carer support groups

Carers New Zealand(external link)
Provides information, advice, learning
and support for families of people
with health and disability needs.

Parent Help(external link)
Provides a national helpline for 
parents and caregivers to get help
for any parenting issue, from the  
everyday to the most serious.  
Freephone 0800 568 856

New Zealand Down Syndrome Association(external link)

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(external link)
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(external link)
An Auckland-based centre
supporting parents and families of
disabled children and young people. 
Phone 09 636 0351

SKIP(external link)
A positive parenting programme
supporting parents and caregivers
of children under 5 to have loving
and healthy relationships with their
children.

Pasifika

Ministry of Pacific Peoples(external link)
Information for Pacific peoples on a range
of issues and access to Government services in NZ.

Vaka Tautua(external link)
Jointly owned by PIASS and Malologa
Trusts, provides disability, mental
health, older peoples and other
support services for Pacific peoples.
Freephone 0800 825 282

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Sports-related

Blind Sport New Zealand(external link)
Promotes opportunities for blind
athletes to participate in national
and international events, and the
Paralympics.

Riding for the Disabled(external link)
Confidence, independence
and wellbeing for people with
disabilities, through therapeutic
horse riding and horse care.

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation(external link)
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(external link)
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(external link)
Supports and encourages
opportunities for people with
disabilities to participate in sports
from regional, national and
international levels.

 

Vision

Blind Citizens New Zealand(external link)
Advocates on behalf of its members
and blind and vision impaired
New Zealanders to Government.
Provides blindness and disability-specific
services.

Deafblind Association New Zealand(external link)
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)(external link)
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(external link)
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(external link)
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

Parents of Vision Impaired NZ(external link)
Supporting and empowering parents who have
blind or vision impaired children.

 

Blind Sport New Zealand(external link)
Promotes opportunities for blind athletes to participate in national and international events, 
and the Paralympics.

 

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