When you find out, either during pregnancy, at birth, during their early years or later, that a child in your family has a disability, you may have a range of emotions and questions. This is normal and you are not alone. Getting a diagnosis can be a very difficult and emotional experience however it is often the first step to accessing the care and support that is available.
Find out information
Ask questions, learn all you can about your child or loved one’s disability and the support programmes that are available.
Connect with others
Connect with organisations who have expertise. Getting in touch with national and local organisations can help you and your child or loved one deal with a diagnosis. They are also a great way to get information and advice.
Connect with other parents who have experienced having a child with a disability.
Awhi Ngā Mātua is an online community for parents of disabled and medically fragile tamariki. Parents can join Awhi Ngā Mātua to ask questions, connect with other parents and find resources and information.
Making contact with organisations that support people with the specific condition you are facing can be especially helpful. Many parents say that talking to other people in a similar situation is a huge help. Sharing your own experiences with others can be valuable and can remind you that you are not alone.
If your child has been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, you may end up having appointments with a whole range of professionals including GPs, paediatricians and occupational therapists.
Sometimes this can be a bit overwhelming so don't be afraid to ask exactly how each person is helping your child or loved one, and ask them to repeat any information you have missed or didn’t understand. Consider taking a support person along with you as well so you can recall and discuss new information afterwards.
Ask your GP and any medical specialists you are referred to about the relevant tests associated with your child’s disability. Make appointments quickly as waiting lists can be long.
Disability support and accessing funding
A Guide for Carers available from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). This guide lets you know about help available for people who care for and support family, whānau, āiga or friends with a physical or mental health condition, a disability, injury or illness.
Contact your local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service to see what disability support you may be able to access. Visit the
Needs Assessment Service Co-ordination Association (NASCA) website.
A disability information and advisory service can also help you find your local NASC and give you more information. Phone the New Zealand Federation of Disability Information Centres on 0800 693 342. To find out more visit our NASC process page.
Financial arrangements and support
Contact WINZ about eligibility for the
Child Disability Allowance.
Making financial arrangements early can be very helpful later on. Open a bank account for your child, enrol them in KiwiSaver and register them with Inland Revenue.
If your child is attending an early childhood centre or school, make an appointment to meet with the principal to discuss accessing support such as the Early Intervention Service to assist your child’s learning. Visit our
Early childhood and school pages.