Applying for assistive technology

Once you have confirmed that your student is eligible, follow this three-step process to apply for assistive technology.

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This process must be followed when applying for assistive technology for students.

Transcript: How to apply for funded assistive technology

Title slide:
How to apply for Assistive Technology funding

Narrator (Tess) in a class of students (facing camera)

Assistive technology can support a student’s presence, participation, and achievement in many different ways.

(Panning across students in class)

Although it may look similar, it is different from the technology used every day in the classroom as it enables a student to do things they cannot do without the technology, or helps them do things better than they can without it.

Narrator (voice over) showing a student with braillenote

Despite the ever-increasing use and sophistication of today’s technology in schools, the Ministry of Education recognises that some students still need specialised devices over and above what is available in most classrooms.

Narrator (Tess) in front of whiteboard

School students may be considered for assistive technology funding if they are supported through any of the current Learning Support services.

(List showing on whiteboard)
These include:
● Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
● Speech-Language (Communication) service
● Behaviour and Support service (BSS)
● Services for Blind and Low Vision
● Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
● Physical disability support service (PDS)
● School High Health Needs Fund (SHHNF)
● In-class support (ICS)

Narrator (Tess) voice over
(Laptop screen showing Ministry of Education website Assistive technology page)

Funding may also be available for students receiving specific additional learning support through their school. You can find more information about this category on our website.

(AT team, student and whānau sitting at table around laptop)

Identifying which assistive technology would be a good fit for a learner requires a team approach. When you, the student’s support team, whānau and often the student, are considering assistive technology options, you will use the first part of the Ministry of Education’s assistive technology assessment and application form to document information about your student.

(Screen showing SETT; student appearing on screen)

This form uses the SETT framework to guide you through how to determine what is the best device, software and/or apps for your student’s identified learning needs.

(S is highlighted in SETT; showing student)
‘S’ is for the student and asks for details about who the student is and what has led the team to consider assistive technology.

(E is highlighted in SETT; student standing outside learning environment)
‘E’ stands for the learning environment. This means the classroom as well as the school, including its resources and features.

(T is highlighted in SETT; showing student writing a letter)
‘T’ is for the learning tasks that the student is currently working on. These may be goals taken from the student’s Individual Education Plan, or IEP.

(T is highlighted in SETT; showing student using an iPad with clicker-like software)
The second ‘T’ stands for the tools likely to enable the student in this learning environment to complete the learning tasks required.

(Screen showing Ready, SETT, Go!)

Ready, SETT, Go!

Narrator (Tess) showing iPad and external keyboard (facing camera)

Now it’s time to trial the device/equipment/technology and see if it does the job.
Just like you wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, your student and team will need to trial the equipment you think will work best.

(Narrator holding shoes and ice skates)
After all, it’s no good if you need these (sneakers) but end up with those (ice skates)!

So try the items on for size and gather some evidence to show it is just what your student needs.

Narrator (Tess) voice over
(Three students facing camera holding assistive technology tools and showing their bubbles of achievement)

How? By collecting samples showing what the student can achieve without the equipment and then comparing them to what the student can achieve using the equipment.

Narrator (Tess) with Ministry person (local assistive technology coordinator) (facing camera)

The trial process is crucial so if you get stuck we can help.

Your local assistive technology coordinator is available for advice and guidance in all aspects of the process.
Contact your closest Ministry of Education office for more support.

Narrator (Tess) voice over
(Images of assistive technology application forms)
Once you have pre- and post-trial work samples and have completed the Ministry AT assessment and application form, attach the quote from the suppliers of the items you’ve recommended and send it all to your local Assistive Technology Coordinator for funding consideration.

(Image of person in front of laptop showing application forms on screen)
The moderation team will review all assistive technology applications and let you know what the outcome is.

Following a successful moderation, the funding goes directly to the school to purchase the items that were successfully trialled.

(Student facing camera – frown turning into a smile)
The result? One happy and successful student.

(ta da!!! balloons)

Narrator (Tess) in front of learning environment (facing camera)

(Visit our website
For further information on the application process, and to find out if funding may be available for the student you are working with, please visit our website or contact your local Ministry of Education office.

Step 1: Gather the team

Gather the student's support team with one person taking responsibility for coordinating the team's action. This person will make sure the team completes all tasks related to identifying your student’s learning needs, trialling the specialised equipment and applying for assistive technology.

The team's also responsible for any ongoing administration, management and use of the technology to support your student's learning.

The student and members of the student’s family or whānau must be part of this team. In some cases, you may have a team already set up as part of the school's education planning process.

Step 2: Complete an assessment and trial

Download and complete the Assistive technology form  Assessment and application [DOCX, 173 KB].

To help the team we use the internationally recognised SETT (student, environment, tasks, and tools) framework, to assess and guide the team decision making when considering what assistive technologies the student needs. 

Assistive technology assessment framework based on the SETT framework [DOCX, 195 KB]

Begin the assessment

Gather the information and fill out the assistive technology application form as you go:

First  complete sections 16

1. With the team, the student and their family/whānau collate the information you have that reflects a shared team understanding about the student and their learning environment.

2. Clarify the purpose of considering an assistive technology application (the student's specific learning goals).

3. Gather baseline data to show what the student can do now without the assistive technology (related to the specific learning goals).

4. Collect a representative piece of work showing what the student is achieving now (pre-trial sample).

Then  complete sections 7–8

1. The team collectively decide on the technology items that may meet the student's learning needs including discussing options with your school, specialists and local Assistive Technology Coordinator if required (don’t limit yourself to what you already know).

  • Identify the assistive technology tools and strategies. Using the “black box technique” to share possible options or solutions
  • The "black box technique" is used to imagine that you are giving your student a "black box". The team list the features that the "black box" needs to have to support your student’s learning. Once you have developed the list, use it to match to technologies with the specific features you have identified:
    • What do you want this “black box” to do?
    • What the specific features this “black box” needs to have to address the students identified learning needs?
  • There is often a broad range of possible devices. Consider whether this is educational technology or assistive technology.
    • Is the technology generally used by students in the classroom (education technology)?
    • Is the technology more specialised, allowing the student to overcome specific barriers to learning and able to improve their ability to actively participate in their learning (assistive technology)?

2. Trial the assistive technology and record student's learning outcomes. Most trials can take 1-2 weeks. In complex cases trials can take longer as you may need to trial a variety of equipment options.

  • Once eligibility is confirmed a trial may be arranged by school staff or a specialist. The trial always includes the family/whānau and school team (e.g. teacher, specialist support staff and Ministry of Education staff if relevant).
  • Baseline information will indicate what is currently happening without the assistive technology tool. Data taken during the trial (using the assistive technology interventions) shows the impact of the assistive device on student learning outcomes.
    • Does the technology make a difference to learning outcomes?
    • Does the technology improve the identified functional capabilities of the student?
    • Is there more than one tool you could try?
  • Assistive technology works best when the student, family/whānau and staff work as a team to select, obtain, implement and monitor assistive technology. At the end of the trial period, the team review the trial data collected. Based on these results, the assistive technology may or may not be recommended.

3. Collect a representative sample of work showing what the student is achieving at or near the end of the trial (post-trial sample).

4. Attach analysed pre- and post-trial work samples relevant to the assistive technology application.

5. At the end of the trial the team will decide if they need to apply for assistive technology funding or not. Because of the trial results, either you won’t go any further with your application as it's not the right equipment for the student, or you'll complete the Ministry of Education assessment application form.

Finally – complete section 915

1. Get a cost-effective quote from your preferred supplier for the technology items required and attach to the application. Write the details into section 9 of the application form, completing all boxes as they're set out.

2. If the quote for the items seems expensive, the Ministry of Education Assistive Technology Coordinator may source another from an All-of-Government (AOG) supplier.


Extra information to help with guiding applications

Government agencies protocol information

Visit the Ministry of Health's website for the Education and Health Therapy and Assistive Technology/Equipment Protocols(external link). This clarifies the respective funding roles and responsibilities for assistive technology being applied for

Download the ACC's Protocol(external link) between the Ministry of Education and ACC. This clarifies the respective funding roles and responsibilities for assistive technology.

Applying for joint funding

Download the Assistive technology application form – Joint funding [DOC, 268 KB] to decide whether to apply for joint funding (between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health).

Joint Funding information sheet [DOC, 273 KB]

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

The New Zealand Guidelines on Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) provide guidance to professionals supporting children and young people with Auditory Processing Disorder.

Assistive technology application form – Auditory Processing Disorder [DOCX, 160 KB]

Peer review

Before submitting the assistive technology application for funding consideration, check to see if it requires a Peer review.

Peer-reviewing the assistive technology application [DOCX, 104 KB].

Step 3: Complete and submit the application

The last step in the process is to submit your completed assessment and application form to the local assistive technology coordinator for funding consideration.

Applications can be made at any time, but are considered on a monthly basis at moderation meetings.

Around two weeks after your application has been considered by the moderation meeting team, your school will receive a letter, letting you know the outcome of your application.

Getting the assistive technology

We'll either arrange for the school to get the assistive technology from us during the trial period or will fund the school to buy the specialised assistive technology recommended.

If the level of funding differs from the application quote then you'll need to apply for additional funding using an Assistive technology form – Variation [DOCX, 62 KB].

Ask for a review if you're not happy with the outcome

You can ask to have your assistive technology application outcome reviewed when:

  • there's a concern procedures haven't been followed, or
  • there's a dispute about the moderation decision.

Start the process by first talking to your local assistive technology coordinator.

If you want to go further, you can make a written request for a review to the National Coordinator for Assistive Technology.

You can either post your request or email it to

Post to:

National Assistive Technology Coordinator
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666

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