Who can apply for assistive technology

Assistive technology is specialised equipment that students with additional learning needs use in class. Learn about eligibility for assistive technology funding.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Specialist Staff
  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

Eligibility for assistive technology

To be able to apply for assistive technology, a student must be living in Aotearoa New Zealand and be enrolled in compulsory education, attending a registered school, or formally exempt from school.

They must also:

  • have additional learning needs and difficulty following the curriculum using standard classroom technology
  • be supported by one of these Ministry learning support services:
    • Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
    • speech-language (communication) service
    • behaviour and support service
    • physical disability support service
    • services for blind and low vision 
    • services for Deaf and hard of hearing
    • School High Health Needs Fund
    • in-class support
  • or be receiving additional learning support from their school.

If they are receiving additional learning support from their school, the student must:

  • have a current individual learning support plan (for example an IEP) that has been in place for at least 3 months
  • be at least 1 level below their expected NZ curriculum level
  • be receiving ongoing monitoring/support by school leader of additional learning support (for example, SENCo, learning support coordinator)
  • be receiving additional adult support in class for a minimum of 2 hours one-on-one (individual) or 4 hours in a small group per week. This could be from a teacher, RTLB, RTLit, a teacher aide, or a combination of all. This additional learning support must have been in place for at least 3 months.

Examples of students using assistive technology

Assistive technology support is available for individual students only (not groups of students). The assistive technology funding supports student's presence, participation/engagement and learning. 

A formal diagnosis is not typically required for an assistive technology application. However, for some specialist equipment (such as vision or hearing) a formal diagnosis is required as part of the application.

The specialist assistive technology being applied for must be relevant to the eligibility selected.

Independent or homeschool students

Students with additional learning needs who attend an independent school or who are home schooled (that is, who have a formal exemption from school) while living in Aotearoa New Zealand may be able to access assistive technology funding.

Their learning needs must be regarded as equivalent to those of a student receiving support through one of our learning support services. Enabling the students with additional learning needs access to their regular schooling.

Funding responsibilities

Funding responsibilities may sit with other agencies.

Who Responsibilities

School (including BYOD)

In schools/classes where all students are expected to bring their own devices such as a laptop, Chromebook or a tablet, assistive technology devices are considered standard classroom equipment and are not able to be funded.

Assistive technology funding may be considered if the equipment a student requires is specialised and different from the equipment available in the class or school.

  • Schools are expected to provide support to students by providing low-cost items and consumables (up to $100).
  • Technology required for transport is funded through Learning Support School Transport Assistance scheme (SESTA) or by the school.

Whaikaha | Ministry of Disabled People

The operational protocol between Whaikaha | Ministry of Disabled People and the Ministry of Education sets out the funding responsibility for assistive technology for students.

  • When the identified need is primarily for daily living (for example, communication, mobility or leisure), Whaikaha is responsible. 
  • When the identified need is primarily for learning the NZ Curriculum, the Ministry of Education has funding responsibility.

More information is available in the operational protocol agreement. This clarifies the respective funding roles and responsibilities for assistive technology being applied for.

Joint funding

In some instances, where a high-cost equipment solution helps the students live safely and independently, joint funding may be considered.

Download the joint funding form [DOCX, 113 KB] to decide whether to apply for joint funding (between the Ministry of Education and Whaikaha).
[DOCX, 479 KB]


ACC provides assistive technology and specialist equipment services to address injury-related needs (including learning needs), except for classroom furniture.

The Ministry of Education funds specialist seating equipment including desks or chairs that are used only in the students’ classroom (equipment is not taken home).

More information is available in the service delivery protocol between the Ministry of Education and ACC. This clarifies the respective funding roles and responsibilities for assistive technology.

Next steps

Once you are sure that your student is eligible, please contact your local assistive technology coordinator to confirm that an application to the Ministry of Education is appropriate.

For any queries, please contact the assistive technology coordinator at your local Ministry office.

Local Ministry of Education offices

Other options to support students

Assistive technology isn't the only way to meet a student's additional learning needs. Sometimes adapting the curriculum or changing the learning environment can also work well.

You may find some of the following small changes will help your student.

  • Adapt the curriculum to meet their learning needs by increasing the use of small group work, reducing the number of learning tasks they must achieve, or simplifying content.
  • Change the learning environment by adjusting the lighting, room acoustics or moving the student’s seating position in relation to the classroom teacher.
  • Try small, inexpensive equipment such as pencil grips or activity timers.
  • Use your school technology to support their specific learning need. This could also include where students bring and use their own technology to access the school learning programme and networks.

If you have explored these options and your student still needs more specialised support, complete an assessment and apply for assistive technology.

Applying for assistive technology

Forms and information sheets for assistive technology

Examples of students using assistive technology

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