Services and support available
The Ministry of Education's special education team provides an early intervention service for very young children who have special education needs, and their families, whanau and caregivers. These services are available if your child regardless of whether your child attends an ECE service or Kōhanga Reo or not.
- Early intervention service
- Incredible years programme
- Communication support for pre-school children who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Get a head start on applying for support at school
What does the early intervention service do?
The early intervention service provides specialist support to help you gain the confidence, knowledge and skills to support your child’s learning and development.
Children aged 0 to 5 years can request support from the early intervention service as soon as there is a significant concern about their learning, development, communication, or behaviour. You can contact the early intervention service yourself if your child is at home with you full time, or your ECE service or Kōhanga Reo might make the request after talking with you.
The service is government funded and free.
What type of support can I get from the early intervention service?
Once an initial request has been made to the early intervention service, someone from the early intervention service will contact you. This be may a kaitakawaenga if your whānau identified as Māori.
The early intervention team will talk with you to find out about your concerns and priorities. They will then discuss the next steps with you. This might involve talking with any other professionals such as your child's ECE service educators, Kōhanga Reo kaiako, or health workers involved with your family, if you are happy for this to happen. They will talk about how your child is doing in different situations in everyday life.
This is to make sure that any support that they provide supports your child's participation and learning in daily life, both at home and at the ECE service or Kōhanga Reo if they attend one. They also make sure that everyone is working in a co-ordinated way to support your family and whānau to support your child.
Together with you they may develop a plan which outlines how your child’s learning and development will be supported by everyone involved. The plan will be reviewed every few months, progress discussed and agreed changes made.
Who will we be working with from the early intervention service?
Early intervention teams include a range of specialists:
- advisers on deaf children (AODC)
- early intervention teachers (EITs)
- speech-language therapists (SLTs).
For more information contact your local Special Education office
Read our Early Intervention Service fact sheet [PDF, 542 KB]
Provides support if your child is experiencing behaviour difficulties. This programme strengthens families by improving parenting skills and helping children develop problem-solving skills. Some of the skills you'll learn as a parent and/or carer include:
- how to play and spend time together
- praising and rewarding children
- communicating positively
- setting limits
- dealing with disobedience
- helping children to problem-solve.
Can my child get this support, and what does it cost?
If your child is aged between 3 and 8 and is experiencing behaviour difficulties they may be able to take part in this programme.
The service is government funded and free.
Contact your local Special Education office for more information.
The Ministry of Education provides communication support to parents and caregivers of pre-school children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
We explain the different ways that children who are deaf or hard of hearing can develop their communication skills. When you have decided on the best communication approach for your family, our advisors on deaf children can work with you to put it into action.
Read the communication support factsheet for detailed information about the 4 communication approaches, and how we support each one.
- To get in touch with an advisor on deaf children, call the Special education information line on 0800 622 222 or talk to your local Ministry of Education office
- If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, contact the Ministry of Education through the New Zealand Relay Service on 0800 4711 711 or visit the NZ Relay website
The School High Health Needs Fund (SHHNF) provides teacher's aide support for your child if they have a serious medical condition and need help to attend their school or kura safely.
It does not apply to children under 5, but you should organise this support early so that it's in place for your child when they start school or kura. As soon as you decide on the school or kura your child is going to go to, talk to them about putting in an application for SHHNF. You'll need to supply up-to-date medical information from your child's specialist with the application.
If you are approved for SHHNF then it is government funded and free to you. The funding for your child is then reviewed once a year.
To find out what is and what's not covered by this service read the school High Health Needs Fund information sheet. [PDF, 734 KB]
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