Criterion 5 for ORS – High learning needs

These students have a severe delay in cognitive development resulting in major difficulties with learning across almost all curriculum areas. Students need significant adaptation of almost all curriculum content.

A description of ORS Criterion 5 learning needs

At 5, these students are learning skills and developing knowledge usually achieved by children up to or sometimes just beyond two-and-a-half years of age.

For example they can:

  • stay at activities with one-to-one adult support
  • solve simple problems, for example giving a container to an adult to open
  • label some familiar objects
  • operate a toy to cause a sound effect or action
  • sometimes follow a simple 1-step instruction, for example, `bag away' when the adult models the action
  • use some two-word phrases, for example, `mummy drink'.

With constant repetition, they're learning to:

  • match up to 2 colours
  • demonstrate early concepts, such as ‘in’ and ‘out’
  • follow basic routines.

Throughout their schooling they'll require high levels of input from specialists and specialist teachers, using particular teaching strategies. Their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) will focus on developing practical skills and knowledge for independence.

Nine- and 10-year-old students will still be learning skills and concepts usually demonstrated independently by four-year-old children.

This criterion isn't for students who have specific difficulties with only some parts of the curriculum, such as receptive and expressive language, literacy or numeracy.

Hemi meets Criterion 5 at 4 years 10 months - a brief profile

Hemi has been supported through an early intervention programme since he was 6 months old. He follows the routines at kindergarten with constant verbal and physical prompting. He is able to finger feed, drink from a cup and help with getting dressed. Hemi has been on a toileting programme and is starting to indicate when he wants to go by holding himself.

With frequent adult prompting, Hemi can build a tower of three blocks, match 2 colours and do a 3 piece form board puzzle using trial and error. Hemi makes circular scribbles on paper using a fist grip to hold the pencil. He can put a spade `in' a bucket on request when playing in the sandpit.

Hemi will briefly look at a book with his mother and sometimes label a familiar picture. Hemi communicates using single words but often uses sounds and gestures. He likes to be with other children but doesn't understand turn taking or sharing and will take what he wants from others.

Sam meets Criterion 5 at 13 years 2 months – a brief profile

Sam was identified as having global developmental delay when he was 2 years old. His early intervention team made a successful application to the ORS before Sam started school.

He's unable to understand class instructions and needs them broken into single steps and usually repeated. All new learning needs to be practiced frequently so Sam can remember it. He struggles to apply his learning across a variety of activities and in different environments. Sam can focus for about 10 minutes on a familiar task that's of high interest and at his level. However, he stops and doesn’t seek help if tasks are difficult. Sam is unable to participate in class discussions.

Sam recognises letters and knows most sounds but doesn’t use this information to help him decode text. He has a bank of up to 35 high-frequency words, although he doesn’t retain them all over time. Sam’s instructional reading age is at the five-and-a-half year level. He usually answers factual questions when reading a familiar text and using picture cues. With prompting Sam can write a short sentence about a recent experience using his word card. He records the first letter of an unknown word. Sam has difficulty staying on task to finish the sentence.

Sam can rote count forwards to 10 and backwards from 10. He has a relative strength for recognising the face value of coins and notes up to $10. However, Sam can’t combine 1 and 2 dollar coins to make an amount up to $10 and he can’t calculate the change he should expect when buying his lunch.

Sam prefers to play with much younger children and at intermediate school he's a loner in the playground. He has little understanding of the rules of games and although he's invited to join his peers at break times, he has great difficulty doing this.

Sam meets his personal care needs independently at school but often loses his belongings. He has difficulty manipulating tools and needs supervision for safety during technology classes. Sam can start a computer and, with help, can find a simple game to play.

Before school Sam needs prompting to shower and get organised. He dresses independently and gets his own cereal for breakfast but he can’t safely heat or cook food.

Sam’s progress at school has been very slow. His programme is focused on supporting him to learn functional skills, which will be useful to him when he leaves school.

Towards the end of their schooling students who meet Criterion 5 will still be working within Level One of the New Zealand Curriculum through activities appropriate to their age level. When they leave school they'll require supported employment and other relevant services.

Students may meet other criteria instead

Students with learning needs may meet other criteria instead. Check to see which you should apply under.

Criterion 9.1 is for students who have moderate to high learning needs, together with moderate to high needs in 2 other areas.

Criterion 9.4(external link) 

Apply for ORS

Find out how to apply for ORS and download our application forms.

Apply for ORS(external link)

Further information

Overview of criteria for ORS(external link)

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