Starting school is a big milestone for everyone. Ensuring children with intellectual disabilities and their families are welcomed and included into local classrooms is a priority for IHC.
Some preschool children with disabilities will have had their needs assessed by Ministry of Education early intervention staff so services should be in place for them when they start school. Sometimes a child’s learning and development needs will be identified at the B4 School Check and some may not be identified until after they start school.
If you are worried, talk with your child’s early learning service and their new school about your concerns to help the move go smoothly.
Your child has the same rights, freedoms and responsibilities as other students of the same age. They include the right to:
The B4 School Check is a nationwide programme offering a free health and development check for all 4-year-olds. It aims to identify and address any health, behavioural, social or developmental concerns that could affect a child’s ability to get the most benefit from school, such as a hearing problem or communication difficulty.
More information about the B4 School Check
Once you decide which school you want your child to attend, you should make an appointment to meet the principal. It is important that planning begins early so that support is in place when your child starts school.
Some questions to ask the school:
Children and young people with disabilities should receive the support and services they require from the school they attend. If they need any additional services and resourcing, the school can make a referral to Learning Support who will assess the child’s learning needs.
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) should be put in place for all children with special education needs. This written plan will set out goals for your child. You and everyone else working with your child are involved in developing these plans.
Children with moderate special needs should be supported by their school through the:
If your child has high needs, school staff should organise and coordinate extra services from Learning Support or another agency that receives Government funding for this purpose. The Ministry of Education is responsible for supporting children with high needs through:
An IEP meeting should include the parents, classroom teacher, child and specialists, as appropriate, to set short and long-term goals for the child’s development and learning.
It should be reviewed at least twice a year in a meeting with parents and the team who developed the plan. Here is a checklist of things that should be in the IEP:
Don’t forget to ask questions about any terms you don’t understand.
More information about Individual Education Plans
Other support available from the Ministry of Education may include:
New to intellectual disability
Early childhood education
Dealing with problems with your child's school
Financial help from Work and Income
If you have any questions call our Community Connect phone line 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday on 0800 442 311
IHC National OfficeLevel 15, 57 Willis StreetWellington
9am to 5pmMonday to Friday
P.O. Box 4155Wellington 6140
0800 442 442
0800 746 444
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