Supporting children who are deaf and hard of hearing

Support is provided for children identified as Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their whānau from birth until end of school.

An individual approach

Every child’s needs and circumstances are unique so the supports provided may differ for each child and young person depending on their needs, age and circumstances.

The support focuses on building the capability of family and whānau and teachers to support the child. The support is based around a single plan for each child or young person to achieve their learning goals and includes flexibility to respond to individual needs.

Defining ‘deaf and hard of hearing’

Deaf and Hard of Hearing refers to children and young people birth to 18 years of age (21 if still at school) identified with a bilateral or unilateral permanent hearing loss and/or Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder.

Parents and teachers may notice that a child or young person may have difficulty listening in the home or in a classroom, the family can seek a hearing assessment through their doctor and local District Health Board audiological services.

Services and supports available

There are a range of services available depending on the identified needs and the goals set. Support services may be provided by the school, Resource Teachers of the Deaf, Advisers on Deaf Children and Early Intervention teams and/or by other providers such as:

  • the Deaf Education Centres
  • First Signs Programme
  • Cochlear Implant Programmes, and
  • Deaf Children New Zealand Tamariki Turi O Aotearoa.

Advisers on Deaf Children (AoDC)

Ko te ahurei o te whānau ārahia o tatou mahi.

Let the uniqueness of the family guide our work.

Working alongside children identified as Deaf and Hard of Hearing and their families and whānau from birth to Year 3 at school.

Working together with others as a team. The team includes parents, whānau, educators, and any other specialists and agencies. Teams work collaboratively to develop a plan, provide information and a range of appropriate supports as required.

There will be 1 person from the team that will be the family/whānau link and other professionals may become involved to help as specific goals or needs for support are identified for the child and family through a collaborative process.

Providing advice and guidance on communication and language development. Providing resources and programmes required to meet the developmental and educational needs of the child and their family and whānau through early childhood and into school.

Support for family and whānau

To support family and whānau to achieve desired outcomes for their tamariki we provide support:

  • in a family and whānau centred way
  • respecting informed choice
  • in natural settings – homes, early childhood centres and schools
  • using an adult coaching approach for family, whānau and teachers
  • using a routine and strength based approach to family and whānau goals for their children
  • working in a culturally responsive way
  • working collaboratively with Speech Language Therapists, Early Intervention Teachers, Kaitakawaenga.

Collaborating with other agencies

We work collaboratively with other agencies including:

  • The Deaf Education Centres
  • First Signs, Deaf Aotearoa NZ
  • The Northern Cochlear Implant programme, Hearing House
  • The Southern Cochlear Implant programme
  • Deaf Children New Zealand Tamariki Turi O Aotearoa.
  • District Health Board  (DHB) Audiologists.

To discuss or request support phone or email your regional Ministry office.

Local Ministry offices

Deaf Education Centres

The 2 Deaf Education Centres provide a national network of services for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They provide support for these students in their local schools through their Resource Teachers Deaf service.

Kelston Deaf Education Centre

The Kelston Deaf Education Centre based in Auckland.

Phone: +64 9 827 4859


Kelston Deaf Education Centre website(external link)

Van Asch Deaf Education Centre

The Van Asch Deaf Education Centre based in Christchurch.

Phone: +64 3 326 6009


Van Asch Deaf Education Centre website(external link)

First Signs

First Signs provides support for families and whānau of Deaf or Hard of Hearing children aged birth to 5 years. They provide families and whānau with opportunities to learn New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), introduce them to Deaf Culture and Deaf Community and support their child’s development.

Phone: 0800 333 2322


First Signs website(external link)

Cochlear Implant Programmes

The Cochlear Implant Programmes may provide support services for children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing identified with severe to profound hearing loss.

Northern Cochlear Implant Programme

The Northern Cochlear Implant Programme (NCIP), The Hearing House is based in Auckland and provides services north of Taupo.

Phone: +64 9 579 2333 or 0800 254 783

Email: reception@heariing

Hearing House website(external link)

NCIP website(external link)

Southern Cochlear Implant Programme

The Southern Cochlear Implant Programme (SCIP) is based in Christchurch and provides services south of Taupo.

Phone: +64 3 355 3041 or 0800 500 405


Southern Cochlear Implant Programme website(external link)

Deaf Children New Zealand Tamariki Turi O Aotearoa

Deaf Children New Zealand is a parent-led, volunteer organisation that supports parents and families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.

Phone: 0800 DEAFCHILD or 0800 332 324

Text: 027 214 6901


Deaf Children NZ website(external link)

Deaf Aotearoa

Deaf Aotearoa is the national organisation representing the voice of Deaf people, and the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand.

Phone: 0800 332 332


Deaf Aotearoa website(external link)

Learn more

Communication support for pre-school children who are deaf or hard of hearing - information sheet(external link)

The Family Book, An introduction for families and whānau of children identified as Deaf and Hard of Hearing(external link) 

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) support — First Signs website(external link)

Early intervention information for parents — Parents website(external link)

The Incredible Years Parent information — Te Kete Ipurangi website(external link)

The Incredible Years Teacher programme — Te Kete Ipurangi website(external link)

It Takes Two to Talk — The Hanen Centre website(external link)

Learning Language and Loving it — The Hanen Centre website(external link)

Much More Than Words — communication development resource, SE Online website(external link)

Further information

To find out more about support services available, talk with staff at your local Learning Support office or call the Learning Support line.

Freecall (NZ only): 0800 622 222

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, contact the Ministry of Education through the New Zealand Relay Service.

Freecall (NZ only) 0800 4711 711

NZ Relay website(external link)

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