We have a lot of parents contact us to ask what support they are entitled to receive at school for their child. The answer, unfortunately, is not a clear cut one. We have provided this page with links to relevant parts of the Ministry of Education site to help you work out what you might be entitled to.
The main reason it is hard to give a clear answer is that every child is looked at on an individual basis. What exact needs each child has is assessed rather than looking solely at the condition they have. However, the reason conditions have names is because the children with the condition share common challenges. Using this stereotypical view we have looked at what services are available, the criteria for them and have summarised the most likely services a child with Asperger’s Syndrome will be entitled to.
Please note that “classic” autism presents itself it quite a different way to Asperger’s Syndrome. Children with “classic” autism are likely to be non-verbal and very withdrawn. Therefore there tends to be more services readily available to them, many of which aim to get them to connect and interact with the world.
For those that have children that are not yet of school age, the Ministry of Education provides an Early Intervention Service that can assist with diagnosis, support and transition to school.
School Based Support
When starting down the path to getting assistance at school, you need to start with the school and classroom teacher themselves.
Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour (RTLBs)
These teachers usually work in a cluster of schools. They work with both the teacher and the child to help determine what needs the child has. They may provide some one on one support themselves to the child for short – medium term issues. They can help facilitate access to other services for long term issues. RTLBs are free to liase with teachers, principals, the Ministry and parents and are therefore a great starting step.
Special Education Grant (SEG)
Each school is given a sum of money each year to fund special education initiatives. Unfortunately this grant is not needs based and often does not stretch very far. The school has some discretion in how it uses this grant but it is typically used to employ one or more teacher aides. These teacher aides work one on one or with small groups of children who have learning needs but who do not qualify for other funding.
Ministry Based Support
For students with high or very high needs, ongoing support that is “attached” to the student rather than the school is offered. This means the funding moves with them when they change schools. This funding is known as ORS.
Ongoing and Reviewable Resourcing Schemes (ORS)
This is a complex scheme but one that can provide good ongoing funding for your child. The application must come from an educator (usually your child’s teacher, deputy principal or principal) and is generally made in the early years of schooling.
It is worth pointing this out to schools as some may not be aware of it.
Below is the link to the Ministry document that outlines the criterion and process for applying. The criterion that most applies to those with Asperger’s is 9.5 (under combined moderate ongoing needs). You may find it useful to print this criterion and the example to show to your child’s teacher.
Strengthening learning support
The Learning Support Delivery Model strengthens how learning support is provided so that all children and young people get the right support, in the right place, at the right time.
It organises learning support based on what best meets the needs of local children and young people.
Support is more flexible and joined-up and tailored around the needs of all ākonga (learners). The contribution of whānau is valued and learning support reflects their identity, language and culture.
Special Education Update Projects
22 Special Education update improvement projects are being set up around New Zealand. The Ministry of Education is working in partnership with the Resource Teachers for Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) service and will collaborate with educators and health and social service agencies.