New to Intellectual Disability

When a family receives the news that their child has a disability, either during pregnancy, at birth, during the early years or later, a range of emotions and thoughts emerge and questions may arise.

Important things to know

  • Ask questions, learn all you can about your child’s disability and support programmes that are available. Connect with other parents who have experienced having a child with a disability

  • Connect with organisations who have expertise with your situation

  • Ask your GP and any medical specialists you are referred to about the relevant tests associated with your child’s disability. Make appointments quickly as waiting lists can be long. This is a time when you can get overloaded with information, so consider taking a support person along with you so you can recall and discuss new information afterwards

  • Contact your local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) organisation to see what disability support you may be able to access. Freephone 0800 693 342 to find your local NASC

  • Read “A Guide for Carers” available from Work and Income Freephone 0800 559 009

  • If your child is attending an early childhood centre or school, make an appointment to meet with the Principal to discuss accessing support such as the Early Intervention Service to assist your child’s learning and participation

  • Join the IHC library and ask for assistance finding relevant and reliable information. We also provide a free book service as a way of supporting families. Click here to find out how to receive your free book.

  • Making financial arrangements early can be very helpful later on. IHC recommends opening a bank account, enrolling your child in Kiwisaver and registering your child with Inland Revenue as soon as possible

  • Contact WINZ regarding eligibility to the Child Disability Allowance.


Information that might be helpful

More information about IHC

IHC Library

Our Library is free to use to anyone living in New Zealand. We have information on all aspects of intellectual disability, autism and other developmental disabilities.


IHC provides advocacy support wherever there is a need to stand up for the rights of all people with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand.


IHC members are very important to IHC. We want the support of all New Zealanders to make a difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.