Learning Support: What Is It?

Learning Support: What Is It?

Your child may need Learning Support services if they have any issues that are affecting their learning or participation in everyday life.


When might my child need Learning Support?

1 in 5 children and young people need some kind of extra support for their learning.

Your child may need extra support if they have needs that are affecting their learning or participation in everyday life such as:

  • developmental delays with talking, walking or playing with others
  • hearing or vision difficulties
  • difficulties with learning, communicating or getting along with others
  • emotional or behavioural difficulty

What kind of extra support is available through Learning Support?

Everyday learning environments, such as an early learning service or school offer many opportunities for your child to learn. If teachers recognise that your child has learning support needs then you and your child may benefit from:

  • an individual learning plan or programme developed with you and the learning team, to build your child's skills
  • additional specialist support – to work with you, teachers and other staff to change everyday learning contexts to support your child's learning and participation alongside their peers
  • special equipment to support your child's learning

Incredible Years Programme

The Incredible Years Parent Programme provides you with specific skills to build on your relationships with your child. These skills encourage your child's play, language, learning and social development. The Ministry of Education and other contracted providers run the programme for parents of children aged 3 to 8 years.

Will there be any cost for Learning Support services?

Learning Support services are Government-funded and are provided free to schools and early learning services.

You may be asked to provide information to help your child's teacher make an application for the following 2 types of funding:


Learning Support Action Plan 2019–2025, Ministry of Education.


Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledge the cooperation of the Ministry of Education in making this content available to parents/caregivers and families.

This page last reviewed 05 August 2020.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it