Last updated 17 Nov 2022
Special needs parenting is often unplanned and can sometimes feel challenging. Here are some resources that can help you with your special needs journey.
Whether you’re new to caring or have years of experience looking after a family or whānau member or someone close to you, this page will show you what support and services are available, how they might help you and how to get in touch with them.
Carers.net.nz also provides information on every step of your caring journey.
Awhi Ngā Mātua
Awhi Ngā Mātua is a new online community and resource hub for parents of disabled and medically fragile tamariki. Parents can join Awhi Ngā Mātua to ask questions, connect with other parents and find resources and information.
Their website is a knowledge base of practical, parent-focused information to help you navigate the disability journey. It has been created and co-designed by and with parents and is a private online community where you can connect with other people who are going through the same challenges and successes.
If you have a child over 4.5 years old who isn't toilet trained due to a disability or medical condition, you may be eligible to receive free nappies.
Speak to your GP, paediatrician or occupational therapist and ask them to provide you with a referral to the District Health Board Continence Clinic. The nappies will be sent directly to your home in bulk.
People from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds fall victim to online bullying and cybercrime, but studies have shown that those with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more susceptible to online threats than others.
Netsafe.org.nz talks about using settings or apps that allow parents to control their child’s activity online.
Are you ok provides tips on how you can increase your child's privacy and safety when using the internet and phones.
Parenting through separation
Parenting Through Separation is a free information course for individual parents who have separated or who are contemplating separation. The course is funded by the Ministry of Justice, and is designed to help parents understand and manage the effects of separation on their children, and how to put their children’s needs first.
- Disabled Parenting New Zealand is for parents with disabilities, by parents with disabilities. Check them out for peer to peer support, to input on policy and others.
- Finding out you're pregnant when you're young can be daunting, especially if the pregnancy wasn't planned. Aranga Tētēkura Service (Word file 177KB) provides additional support to young mothers during and after pregnancy, including wellbeing support, child protection and support to continue secondary school.
- Family Planning has a range of resources that can guide parents, caregivers, family members, teachers and carers to give the young person in their lives the tools and information to navigate their sexual development.
- To Be Frank offers education sessions for disabled people that provide a safe space to ask vulnerable questions in a relaxed, non-judgmental setting.
- My Kind is an online dating platform for disabled people. The platform is researched and designed by Kiwis with disabilities and people working in not-for-profit organisations in the disability sector.
Planning for your disabled child's future
- Carematters.org offers advice and information about caring for a disabled family/whānau member as you get older.
- Guardianship may need to be considered in cases where the disabled person has limited decision-making capacity and requires someone to make decisions on their behalf such as health care, medical intervention, housing or access to services.
- Here's a kit we found from Carematters.org that talks about family trusts, property managers, welfare, guardianship.
- Improving Life Outcomes run a series of workshops to help parents support special needs children with their emotions, behaviours and their learning needs. Sessions are held at West Auckland.
- Disability Connect organises many types of workshops and seminars for people living with disabilities and their carers. Check their website regularly for events that could help you find solutions to on your parenting skills.