Criterion 3 for ORS: Very high physical needs

Learn about ORS Criterion 3. The students that meet this criterion have very high needs for help with mobility and positioning or personal care. They need specialist one-to-one intervention at least weekly and/or specialist monitoring at least once a month, together with daily learning support provided by others.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Teachers and Kaiako
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Learning Support Coordinators and SENCOs
  • Learning Support Specialist Staff
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau
  • Boards
  • Non-Government Agencies
  • Disability Sector

This guidance provides assistance for schools and parents/caregivers/whānau wishing to apply for the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme to support a child with high or very high ongoing needs. To be eligible for ORS funding, a child must meet one or more of the ORS criteria.

A description of ORS Criterion 3 physical needs

This criterion is for students who have an extremely severe physical disability, with spasticity or low tone and difficulties with eating, speaking and swallowing. They may be extremely fragile.

These students are unable to move, change position, sit, eat, dress, grasp or release or manipulate objects independently. Daily care, physical support and supervision are part of their programmes. They require specialised equipment, such as wheelchairs, fully supportive seating systems and standing frames and need to be lifted and positioned in equipment safely. They may require aids for communication, tubes for feeding or specialised equipment for toileting.

These students require specialists such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists or conductors. Continuing therapist involvement is critical for the development of physical skills and maintaining physical wellbeing so that appropriate learning can occur. Students are also very likely to require a speech-language therapist because of eating difficulties and communication needs.

In addition, students with a deteriorating condition who are no longer independently mobile and have significant difficulties with swallowing, respiration and use of their limbs meet this criterion.

A brief profile: At 4 years 9 months, Ravi meets Criterion 3

Ravi has very little independent functional movement and is reliant on an adult for all his positioning, mobility and personal care needs. Ravi has a customised wheelchair with head support and chest harness. He also has a standing frame that he tolerates being placed in for short periods each day. When lying on his front on the floor Ravi can hold his head up briefly and roll over onto his back.

Ravi is unable to clear his throat; his swallowing is significantly impaired and he constantly struggles to maintain a clear airway. When he is fed, care needs to be taken to ensure he is correctly positioned as he has a strong tongue thrust, gags easily and is at risk of choking.

With slow, concentrated movements, Ravi is able to take objects held out to him. When correctly seated at an easel Ravi can hold a paintbrush with a fist grip and paint marks on paper with hand-over-hand assistance.

Students may meet other criteria instead

Students who need physical support may meet other criteria instead. Check to see which you should apply under.

Criterion Applies to students who:
Criterion 7
Are considered to have a high level of need, requiring less intervention
Criterion 9.4
Have moderate to high physical difficulties with gross and fine motor skills, together with moderate to high learning needs and 1 other area of need at a moderate to high level

Apply for ORS

Find out how to Apply for ORS and download our application forms.

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