Early Intervention Services

Early Intervention Services support children, and their whanau and kaiako from birth until the child starts school. Every child’s needs and circumstances are unique so early intervention supports will differ for each child depending on their needs, age and circumstances.

Children may receive early intervention support in relation to needs such as:

  • Behaviour
  • Hearing and vision
  • Social or developmental needs
  • Disabilities such as ASD , learning or physical disabilities
  • Communication needs

Services and supports available

Early intervention services can be provided by Ministry of Education teams or by contracted early intervention providers. The different types of specialists and supports available include:

  • Advisors on deaf children
  • Early intervention teachers
  • Education support workers
  • Kaitakawaenga (Māori cultural advisors)
  • Psychologists
  • Speech-language therapists.

Early Intervention teams also work closely with other specialists and providers. DHBs typically provide ASD co-ordinators, audiologists, physiotherapists, paediatricians, social workers, dieticians and occupational therapists.

Support for children who are blind or low vision is provided by the Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ).

BLENNZ website (external link)

Support for children who are deaf and hard of hearing is provided by the deaf education centres:

Other early intervention providers include:

  • 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)

Te Whāriki

Early intervention services are provided in the context of an inclusive curriculum Te Whāriki (external link)

This holds the promise that all children will be empowered to learn with and alongside others by engaging in experiences that have meaning for them. This means adapting environments and teaching approaches and removing barriers to participation and learning.

Barriers may be physical (for example, the design of the physical environment), social (for example practices that constrain participation) or conceptual (beliefs that limit what is considered appropriate for certain children). Teaching inclusively means that kaiako will work together with families, whānau and community to identify and dismantle such barriers.

How the Early Intervention Service works

Who do we work with?

Services work collaboratively with families, early childhood educators and other local providers to support the learning and development of young children.

How long do we work with a child?

Early intervention services are for children who have a wide range of types and levels of need. Some children will access shorter term support focused on communication, developmental or behaviour related needs. Others will access more ongoing supports through their preschool years and as they transition to school.

How to get support

We want to make it as easy as possible for parents and educators to access support:

  • Parents can contact us directly to request support. A child does not need a diagnosis to make a referral.
  • Educators can also contact us for help once they have the parents’ agreement and full understanding of the reason for the request for support.
  • Other professionals such as paediatricians, GPs, audiologists, or plunket nurses can also refer with the permission of parents.

To discuss or request support phone or email your regional Ministry office

To access support from an alternative early intervention providers contact them directly or talk to the Ministry about your service preferences.

How we work

Early intervention supports work together with others as a team. The team includes parents, whānau, educators, and any other specialists and agencies. Teams work collaboratively to develop a plan, provide information and a range of appropriate supports as required. There will be one person from the team that will be the family/whānau link and other professionals may become involved to help as specific goals or needs for support are identified for the child and family thought a collaborative process.

Further information

Learn more

To find out more about the Early Intervention Service, talk with staff at your local Learning Support office or call the Learning Support line on 0800 622 222.


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