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
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

Advocacy

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.

www.odi.govt.nz

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.

www.ombudsman.parliament.nz

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 Autism Spectrum Disorder

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

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.
www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/disabilities/autism-spectrum-disorder

Autism New Zealand
Provides support, training, advocacy,
resources and information on
autism spectrum disorders,
including asperger syndrome.
www.autismnz.org.nz
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.
www.tipsforautism.org.nz/

Cloud 9 Children’s Foundation
Information about asperger syndrome.
www.withyoueverystepoftheway.com

 

Behaviour

ADHD Online

(also mentions advocacy)
Provides information and support
for parents and/or carers of children with ADHD.
www.adhd.org.nz

Communication

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

www.dyspraxia.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

 

Disability

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

Auckland and Northland
www.accessable.co.nz 
Freephone 0508 001 002

www.supportoptions.co.nz

 

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Early intervention

Champion Centre
An early intervention service for
infants and young children with
developmental delay.
www.championcentre.org.nz
Ohomairangi Trust
An early intervention service in the
Auckland region for young children
with special needs and their families.
Particular focus on services for Māori.
www.ohomairangi.org.nz
Conductive Education
Early childhood education for
children with cerebral palsy and
other motor disorders.
www.conductive-education.org.nz
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
 

Education

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

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
Lower half of North Island:
www.centralregionalhealth.school.nz
South Island:
www.srhs.school.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

Email: special.education@education.govt.nz

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.

www.workandincome.govt.nz

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.
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

Health-related

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.

www.mda.org.nz

Freephone 0800 800 337

Cerebral Palsy Society
Provides information and support for people with cerebral palsy.
www.cpsoc.org.nz
Freephone 0800 503 603

New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders

Helps people with rare diseases and their families and whānau through providing access to support groups, clinicians and researchers.

www.nzord.org.nz

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.

www.williams-syndrome.org.nz

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
Helpline 0800 20 21 22

Prader-Willi Syndrome Association

Provides education, information and support for people with PWS and their families and whānau.

www.pws.org.nz

Freephone 0800 479 743

Face it Cleft New Zealand
Support network for people with a cleft lip and/or palate.
www.faceit.org.nz 
Freephone 0800 425 338
 

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Hearing

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.
www.deaf.org.nz

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

Royal New Zealand Foundation
of the Blind Library and
Information Services
BlINK –
national library service for students
who are blind or have low vision.

www.blindfoundation.org.nz/members/library/homai-special-formats-library

IHC Library
The IHC Library has information on
all aspects of intellectual disability.
http://ihc.infospecs.co.nz/

 

Weka
Disability information website for
disabled people, their families,
whānau and caregivers, health
professionals and disability
information providers.
www.weka.net.nz
Freephone 0800 171 981

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

 

Intellectual disabilities

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

Learning difficulties

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

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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 for more in your area.

Ngā Kura ā Iwi
Supports Kura ā Iwi.

Ask your Kaitakawaenga for contact details.

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
The governing body for Kōhanga
Reo, providing the support needed
by Kōhanga Reo.
www.kohanga.ac.nz

Kotahi Mano Kāika
Website to support families and
whānau who want to start using
Te Reo Māori in their daily lives.
www.kmk.maori.nz

Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa

Te Rūnanga Nui supports, protects and gives direction

to the development of Kura Kaupapa Māori.

www.runanga.co.nz

Migrants and refugees

Immigration New Zealand
Information for people who are
thinking about moving to
New Zealand – includes information
about education.
www.immigration.govt.nz

Refugee Council of New Zealand
A national organisation that
provides advice, information and
assistance to asylum-seekers and
refugees in New Zealand.
www.rc.org.nz

Language Line
A telephone interpreting service
that offers clients of participating
agencies free interpretation in 40
different languages.
www.languageline.govt.nz
Freephone 0800 656 656

Refugee Services Aotearoa
New Zealand
Helping refugees to settle and adjust
within their new communities.
www.refugeeservices.org.nz

New Zealand Now
An Immigration New Zealand website
describing life in New Zealand.
www.newzealandnow.govt.nz

 


Mental health and support

Depression
Aims to help New Zealanders
recognise and understand depression.
www.depression.org.nz
Freephone 0800 111 757

Samaritans
Freephone 0800 726 666

Headspace
Information for young people,
families and schools about mental
health problems, such as
depression, anxiety and stress. Some
of this website is specific to the
Auckland region.
www.headspace.org.nz

The Lowdown
This website is aimed at helping
young New Zealanders understand
and deal with depression.
www.thelowdown.co.nz
Free text 5626 for help

Lifeline
Freephone 0800 543 354

What’s Up
A national free phone counselling
service for 5 to 18 olds.
www.whatsup.co.nz
Freephone 0800 942 8787

Mental Health Foundation
Promotes wellbeing and mental
health for all ages. Provides a
resource and information service.
www.mentalhealth.org.nz

Youthline
Freephone 0800 376 633

Parent and/or carer support groups

Carers New Zealand
Provides information, advice, learning
and support for families of people
with health and disability needs.
www.carers.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

New Zealand Down Syndrome Association

Informs and supports families/whānau whose
lives have been changed by Down Syndrome,
promotes and advocates for positive attitudes
and inclusion.

www.nzdsa.org.nz
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.
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.

www.skip.org.nz

Pasifika

Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs
Information for Pacific peoples
on a range of issues and access to
Government services in New Zealand.
www.mpia.govt.nz/for-pacific-peoples

Vaka Tautua
Jointly owned by PIASS and Malologa
Trusts, provides disability, mental
health, older peoples and other
support services for Pacific peoples.
www.vakatautua.co.nz
Freephone 0800 825 282

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Sports-related

Blind Sport New Zealand

Promotes opportunities for blind
athletes to participate in national
and international events, and the
Paralympics.

www.blindsport.org.nz

 

Riding for the Disabled
Confidence, independence
and wellbeing for people with
disabilities, through therapeutic
horse riding and horse care.
www.rda.org.nz

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.
www.halberg.co.nz

 

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.

www.specialolympics.org.nz

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

 

Vision

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

Blind Foundation

(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.

www.blindfoundation.org.nz

Freephone 0800 24 33 33

Parents of Vision Impaired
New Zealand
Supporting and empowering parents who have
blind or vision impaired children.
www.pvi.org.nz

 

Blind Sport New Zealand

Promotes opportunities for blind athletes to participate

in national and international events, and the Paralympics.

www.blindsport.org.nz

 

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