Special education: What is it?

Special education: What is it?

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

When might my child need special education services?

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

  • being slower to develop skills such as talking, walking or playing
  • hearing or vision difficulties
  • a struggle with communicating or getting along with others
  • an emotional or behavioural difficulty

What kind of extra support is available?

An everyday learning environment such as an Early Childhood Education service (ECE) or classroom, by itself, may be enough for your child to learn to the best of their abilities. You and your child's teachers may also benefit from extra support around your child's wellbeing and participation. This might include:

  • a behaviour plan or programme to support you and your child
  • specialist support - working with the adults closest to your child to develop your child's skills and support their learning
  • special equipment to support your child's learning

Incredible Years Programme

The Incredible Years Parent Programme is run by the Ministry of Education to support parents of children aged 3-8 years. 

It provides parents with skills to better manage children with behavioural problems, creating a home environment that encourages positive social and educational outcomes.

Will there be any cost for special education services?

All funding for special education services comes from the Government and all services provided are free.

Money from the Government goes directly to the Ministry of Education, accredited early intervention service providers and schools to pay for the services children receive.

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

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 17 July 2017.
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