Early identification of hearing, vision or other health problems

If a child has a hearing, vision or other health problem, finding it early is good for their learning and development. ECE services can advise parents about Well Child Tamariki Ora checks, as well as other free health services.

Noticing hearing, vision or other health issues

If you think a child at your service may need their hearing or vision checked, or has a health issue, talk to their parents or guardian about options for a checkup.

What are signs of vision problems in children?

A child may:

  • have learning or reading difficulties
  • be clumsier than usual for their age
  • screw their eyes up or tilt their head to see, or
  • have frequent headaches

What are signs of hearing problems in children?

A child may:

  • have speech or language difficulties
  • have trouble following instructions
  • be easily distracted, or
  • have difficulty paying attention in class

These symptoms may vary from time to time. The Kidshealth website can give you more information about vision problems (external link)  and hearing problems (external link)  in children.

Remind parents and whānau about Well Child Tamariki Ora

The Well Child Tamariki Ora (external link) programme is a series of health visits and support that are free to all families for children from around 6 weeks up to 5 years of age. Well Child Tamariki Ora nurses are experts in child health and growth, and support parents to protect and improve their child’s health.

The child's hearing and vision will be discussed at each Well Child Visit, and will be screened at the B4 School Check (external link) . After the screening, the nurse may offer to refer the child for a hearing or vision assessment. This can be done at the family’s local hospital or by a private eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) or ear doctor (audiologist).

Finding a Well Child Tamariki Ora service

It’s never too late for a family to sign up with a Well Child Tamariki Ora provider.  Parents can find the Well Child Tamariki Ora services in their area through the Find a Well Child Tamariki Ora service (external link) page.

Hearing and vision assessments don’t need to cost anything

Visits to hospital specialists and special education services are free, but there may be a wait to get seen. Parents can decide to use a private provider, but this will usually mean they have to pay.

Other health services that may be helpful to parents

In an emergency dial 111 immediately for an ambulance.

General Practice (GP)

It’s easy to enrol (external link) and costs nothing. Once a child is enrolled, visits to general practice and after-hours services are usually free until they are 13 years old.

Dental care

For free children’s dental care, parents should contact their local Community Oral Health Service, 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583). Children are entitled to free dental care until they are 18.

Healthline

Parents can talk to a registered nurse any time of the day or night through Healthline (external link) (0800 611 116), or call Plunketline (external link) (0800 933 922) for parenting advice from a Plunket nurse. These calls are free, including from mobile phones.

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