Supporting a young person to leave school

Young people with disabilities preparing to leave school should have access to all the programmes and supports available to all secondary students.

Key ways to support a young person

  • Develop a plan that sets clear goals for where they would like to be
  • Plan for any support and ongoing education if needed with literacy and numeracy
  • Plan for getting around the community and learning any new skills required
  • Identify key people in areas where support may be needed
  • Identify skills needed to become as independent as possible
  • If they have equipment provided by the Ministry of Education that they will need to use after leaving school discuss with their lead worker from Special Education
  • Get an IRD number, a Work and Income number and an 18+ or Real Me card
  • Discuss the transition plan with the NASC.

Social and recreational activities

  • Contact the local city council, community centre, Disability Information Centre or NASC for information about suitable social, recreational and community groups
  • Enabling Good Lives aims to develop new ways of supporting people with disabilities and their families. Check availability in your region with the NASC
  • Local self-advocacy groups such as People First may have useful information
  • If suitable find out what Special Olympic sports are available in your area.

Financial and property matters

As with all young people, legal guardianship of a young person with a disability ends when the child turns 18.

Most adults with an intellectual disability can be supported to manage their affairs by family, friends, members of a circle of support, and/or by disability provider support staff. Support can range from informal day-to-day support to more formal support such as the appointment of an agent to assist with money matters.

Sometimes families are advised that adult guardianship arrangements (Welfare Guardianship and Property Management) need to be put in place to support adults with disabilities with financial, health and legal matters. Increasingly families are finding that alternative arrangements can be made and work well.

Things you might be interested in

IDEA Services

IDEA Services provides support for people with an intellectual disability so they can live, learn, work and enjoy life as part of the community.

IHC Library

Our Library is free to use to anyone living in NZ. 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.