Katerina's story: Navigating anxiety and school supports


Published 17 May 2023


The impact of Covid is unique to each individual and family. For families caring for disabled loved ones, it has been particularly challenging.

Recently, we caught up with Katerina and her family to ensure they have the necessary support as they recover from Covid. Katerina said they were coping well, but expressed concern for her daughter, Nanette.

Nanette is 13-years-old, enjoys baking and loves to try her hand at reading anything that comes her way, finding joy in the process. Katerina shared that since the Covid lockdowns, Nanette has struggled with increased anxiety, making it difficult for her to get back to school. The evolving rules around mask use was particularly challenging for Nanette, who has Global Developmental Delay and thrives on routines.

Her anxiety increased when she transitioned to high school, a new environment where she didn’t know anyone. Katerina is currently privately funding Nanette's teacher aide support a few hours per day, but the support is dependent on other students’ schedules, who have support needs that are vastly different from Nanette. Katerina is applying for ORS funding to secure a full-time teacher aide, but the process takes some time. She believes that the first few months in high school are crucial to ensure Nanette settles and thrives.

Our Whānau Ora team helped Katerina and Nanette urgently access funding for support gaps that are normally covered by other agencies. This enables families to quickly address immediate needs and ensure that disabled loved ones receive timely and necessary support.

Just after a few months, Katerina said that the funding has made a marked difference in Nanette’s life. The combined effort of a teacher aide and teaching staff has been remarkable in helping Nanettel settle into school and enjoy learning. 

“There are still a few anxious days but she continues to be happy to go to school. This is a first. Thank you from our family.”