Learning Support Before Your Child Goes To School

Learning Support Before Your Child Goes To School

If your child needs extra support for learning and development there are qualified, experienced people in early intervention services who can work with you. This support is available from birth through to when your child starts school.


Who provides early intervention services?

Early intervention services are provided by the Ministry of Education, Learning Support, and contracted early intervention service providers. Support for children who are blind or low vision is provided by the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ).

The different types of specialists and supports available include:

  • early intervention teachers
  • education support workers
  • kaitakawaenga (Māori cultural advisors)
  • psychologists
  • speech-language therapists

How can I get early intervention support?

To ask for support contact your regional Ministry of Education office (by calling free on 0800 622 222 and following the voice prompts).

You can also contact other early intervention providers:

  • CCS Disability Action (Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin)
  • Ohomairangi Trust (Auckland)
  • McKenzie Centre (Hamilton)
  • Conductive Education (Hamilton and Christchurch)
  • Wellington Early Intervention Trust
  • Champion Centre (Christchurch)

Teachers can also contact the Ministry of Education to ask for help if they have your permission. Other professionals such as paediatricians, GPs, audiologists, or Plunket nurses can also ask for support with your permission. Your child does not need a diagnosis to access Ministry of Education early intervention services.

What kind of support can I get from early intervention services?

Once an initial request has been made to the Early Intervention Service, someone from that service provider will contact you. This may be a kaitakawaenga if your whānau identified as Māori.

The early intervention specialist will talk with you to find out about your concerns and priorities and how your child is doing in different situations in everyday life. They will then discuss the next steps with you.

With your permission, the specialist may also talk with your child's early learning service, Kōhanga Reo, or healthcare service involved with your family. This is to make sure that any support that they provide is coordinated.

They may develop a plan with you which outlines how those involved will support your child's learning and development. The specialist will review this plan with you every few months to discuss progress and make changes as needed.

To find out about more about the Early Intervention Service call the Ministry of Education on 0800 622 222 (New Zealand only). You can also read more on the Ministry of Education website - see 'External links and downloads' below.


Starship Foundation and the Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledge the cooperation of the Ministry of Education in making the content on this page 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