The Physical Disability Service

If a student at school has a physical disability, the Physical Disability Service can help to support them to learn at school. The service works with teachers and schools to help them adapt the environment around the student to meet students’ needs.

Who the support is for

To get support, a student is likely to have a problem with:

  • moving safely around the classroom and the school
  • using playground equipment
  • taking part in learning activities, particularly physical ones
  • using technology, such as computers
  • using pencils, pens and other tools and materials, especially if their disability causes problems with their handwriting
  • managing basic tasks, such as changing their clothes when they go swimming, dealing with their clothes when they go to the toilet and eating their lunch or morning tea.

Children with a severe physical disability

If a student has a severe disability, talk to your local SE staff as it may be more appropriate to apply to the Ongoing Resource Scheme.

You cannot get support from both the Physical Disability Service and the Ongoing Resource Scheme.

How the service supports a student

The Physical Disability Service has physiotherapists and occupational therapists who work with children and teachers.

A therapist will assess the student’s needs. They will talk with everyone involved, including the child, the family and the teachers, and will put together a programme to help meet those needs. This could mean training people to make sure the child is included in all class activities.

The therapist might also discuss possible changes to school buildings to enable students to move around freely, such as the library or classrooms. For example, doorways might need to be widened or ramps and handrails built.

The Physical Disability Service and Special Education

In some parts of the country, the Physical Disability Service is provided by the Ministry of Education, Special Education. For all others areas, it’s provided by school Specialist Service Providers.

Contact your district office

The specialist service provider details and the areas they cover

Applying to the Physical Disability Service

Before applying talk to your local special education office.

To apply for support from the service, complete the application form [DOCX, 95 KB]

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