Who can apply for assistive technology

Learn about applying for assistive technology, which can allow students with additional needs to take part in the environment that they learn in.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


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

If you are considering applying for assistive technology for a student, see the eligibility criteria outlined below.

Who can apply for assistive technology?

To be able to apply for assistive technology a student will:

  • be enrolled in compulsory education, attending a registered school or formally exempt from school and living in Aotearoa New Zealand; and
  • have additional learning needs and has difficulty following the curriculum using standard classroom technology; and
  • be supported by one of these Ministry learning support services:
    • Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
    • Speech-Language (Communication) Service
    • Behaviour and Support Service (BSS)
    • Physical Disability Support Service (PDS)
    • Services for Blind and Low Vision (BLENNZ)
    • Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    • School High Health Needs Fund (SHHNF)
    • In class support (ICS)
  • or be receiving additional learning support from their school. Under this criterion, the student must meet all of the following requirements:
    • has a current individual learning support plan, for example an IEP, that has been in place for at least three months; and
    • be at least one level below expected NZ curriculum level, and
    • be receiving ongoing monitoring/support by school leader of additional learning support, for example, SENCo, Learning Support Coordinator, and
    • be receiving additional adult support in class for a minimum of two hours 1:1 (individual) or four hours (small group) per week. This could be from a teacher, RTLB, RTLit or teacher aides or a combination of all. This additional learning support must have been in place for at least three months.

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

Typically, a formal diagnosis is not required for an assistive technology application. However, for some specialist equipment a formal diagnosis is required as part of the application. This includes for specialist vision and hearing equipment. The specialist assistive technology being applied for must be relevant to the eligibility selected.

What if the student attends an independent school or is homeschooled (students who have a formal exemption from school)?

Students with additional learning needs attending an independent school or being home-schooled 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.

Is this our funding responsibility?

Funding responsibilities may sit with a number of 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, this is considered standard classroom equipment and is not able to be funded through assistive technology. Funding for assistive technology 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.



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

When the identified need is primarily for daily living, such as communication, mobility or leisure then Whaikaha is responsible. When the identified need is primarily for learning, as covered by the NZ Curriculum, the Ministry of Education has funding responsibility.

More information is available on Education and Health Therapy and Assistive Technology/Equipment Protocols [PDF, 12 MB]. This clarifies the respective funding roles and responsibilities for assistive technology being applied for.

Applying for Joint-Funding (MoH/MoE):

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

Joint Funding Information sheet [DOCX, 479 KB]

Accident Compensation Commission (ACC)

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).

Download the ACC's Protocol [PDF, 8.1 MB] between the Ministry of Education and ACC. This clarifies the respective funding roles and responsibilities for assistive technology.

Next step

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 your student's learning needs

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:

  • Adapting the curriculum for your student to meet their learning needs by increasing the use of small group work, reducing the number of learning tasks your student must achieve, or simplifying content.
  • Changing 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 to see if these help.
  • Using your school technology to support your student's specific learning need. This technology includes where students bring and use their own technology to access the school learning programme and networks.

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

Applying for assistive technology

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