Support for families

Additional support needs and disability

A family of two adults and two children smiling at the camera.

Holiday Support for Children with a Disability 

The City of Edinburgh Council coordinates holiday support for children from primary 1 to S6, who have a disability. The holiday support is for children who are unable to access mainstream holiday clubs due to their significant and complex needs, and whose families require support during the school holidays.

Support is offered in the October, February, Easter and Summer school holidays.

Each child who is offered a place can be offered up to 4 weeks over the academic year, Monday to Thursday, 9 am until 3 pm (except for the first week in Easter which will run Tuesday to Friday).

Applications will reopen again in June 2024.

Firsthand Lothian

Firsthand Lothian can provide support to families who have one or more children under 16 years with additional support needs, allowing parents and carers to have some regular respite. A matched volunteer offers up to three hours of one-to-one support, usually at the weekend, engaging children in fun activities, going to new places, building confidence and helping them to achieve their goals.

The service is currently delivered in the local community, not in the family home, this is not a long-term service and is more suited to children who are attending mainstream education.

For more information contact

0131 523 1322 and leave a message

Firsthand Lothian - Social Support group

This group is for parents and carers, particularly those with children with additional support needs and autism spectrum disorder. The group provides online monthly meetings to reduce social isolation. They offer support to share knowledge, experience, ideas and strategies and include guest speakers and visits to relevant organisations.

For more information contact

0131 523 1322 and leave a message 


Firsthand Lothian - Time 4 Mum

This is for mums living in Edinburgh, who are isolated. They will receive support and encouragement to explore and attend opportunities and activities to help boost mental and physical health. Support with a worker will initially be offered for up to three hours per week for a maximum of 12 weeks. Childcare needs to be already in place.

For more information contact

0131 523 1322 and leave a message

To make an application visit the Firsthand Lothian website.

Firsthand Lothian - Wellbeing Sessions

These sessions are for parents of children with Additional Support Needs and will include activities such as painting, jewellery making, making aromatherapy creams and bath salts, sewing and other relaxation exercises. 

For more information or to attend contact 
07340 162277

Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCiL) - Parent peer support groups

These peer support groups are for parents of children with additional support needs. They meet online one Monday each month 11 am to 12 pm over Zoom and the sessions are co-hosted with VOCAL. LCiL also runs a peer support group for parents who have adult children who have left school. Online workshops also run to know your rights and how best to get the support you need.

For more information visit the Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living (LCiL) website or contact 

0131 475 2350

Salvesen Mindroom

This service offers support for parents, carers, professionals and neurodivergent children and young people, this includes children and young people with a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and other neurodevelopmental conditions, no diagnosis is required to access the services.

Family Advice Specialists provide advice, information and emotional support to parents and carers over the phone and via email. This can include information about neurodevelopmental conditions, rights and entitlements and signposting to relevant services and supports. Support can also be offered through communication with professionals. Family Outreach Specialists can offer more intensive support such as accompanying parents to meetings.

The Children and Young People Service provides advocacy and support to neurodivergent children and young people up to age 25. Intensive 1:1 support can be offered to help children and young people address the issues they are experiencing in a way that works for them, enabling them to have a say in decision-making and improving confidence and well-being.

A Transitions Service is delivered through schools and provides 1:1 or small group support to help children and young people identify their goals, wishes and needs for the future, using the Future Me resource.

For more information visit the Mindroom Facebook and Twitter pages, or contact
0131 370 6730 


This service offers support for parents and carers of children with complex needs. Assistance is available to support with benefits, grant funding for aids and equipment, information and support on statutory care and support being discharged from the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.

For more information visit the Kindred website or contact

0800 031 5793

The Action group - Parents Carewell Advice service

This provides benefits advice and support for families with a child with a disability, developmental delay or long-term health condition. 

Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm ask for the advice team or email

0131 475 2315

VOCAL Support for Carers

Telephone support is available for carers, including parents where the caring role of their child requires additional time. Carers can access information on support, benefits and counselling. 

For more information contact

0131 622 6666.

For free courses and events for carers visit the Carers Training website.

Enquire about additional support for the learning helpline

This is an advice service on additional support for children’s learning.

Contact the Helpline between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. 

0345 123 2303 or complete an online enquiry at the Enquire website or visit the Enquire contact page.

NHS Lothian children and young people’s physiotherapy service helpline

This is an advice service which answers any queries parents and carers may have about their child or young person’s development. If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child’s motor skills or development.

Contact between 9 am and 11 am every Thursday 

0131 312 2347

For more information visit the NHS Lothian Children and Young people’s Physiotherapy Service website.

Child development concerns NHS Lothian web pages

Information and support for parents and carers who have any concerns about their child's development. 

Child Development: concerns about my child - Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (

Sleep Scotland

We are funding Sleep Scotland to provide direct Sleep counselling support for children and young adults with additional support needs in Edinburgh.

To make a self-referral email

and a sleep advisor will call you back. For more information visit the Sleep Scotland website.

Activities parents and children with additional support needs can do together

Deaf Action Toddler Group

This supportive group runs for both hearing and deaf parents and their deaf or hearing toddlers. Sessions run on Thursday mornings at 

Deaf Action 
49 Albany Street 
For more information visit the Deaf Action website or contact 

Inspiring Disability Group - Jack Kane Community Centre

This is a free family-based fun group for children and young people with additional support needs and their parents, carers and siblings. The group takes place on Saturday mornings between 10 am and 12 pm. This group is currently full, but families can add their details to the waiting list.

208 Niddrie Mains Road,
Edinburgh Area,
H16 4ND

For more information, please email  

Drop-in group - Royston Wardieburn Community Centre 

A fun-packed drop-in activity session for children with a disability aged 0 to 18 years old, their parents and siblings. Parents can meet other parents while their children take part in activities run by experienced youth and children’s workers. The group meets each Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm during term time at 

Royston Wardieburn Community Centre,
Pilton Drive North,

For more information contact

 0131 552 5700

Early Years sessions at The Yard

The Yard’s Early Years’ Service offers support and play sessions for children with disabilities aged nought to five years and their families during term time on Mondays from 1.30 pm to 3.30 pm and Fridays from 10 am to 11.30 am. 

Sessions run at 

The Yard 
22 Eyre Place Lane 
EH3 5EH 

Places need to be booked in advance, limited spaces are available each new term. New members are welcome to have a free taster session. Families using the Yard pay a membership of £5 per month.

For more information visit the The Yard website or contact

0131 476 4506

The Yard Early Years Outreach Sessions in Wester Hailes

The Yard’s Early Years’ Outreach Service offers play and support sessions for children with disabilities aged zero to five years and their families in the Wester Hailes area. Sessions are free and run on Wednesdays from 9 am to 11 am at

Clovenstone Community Centre
54 Clovenstone Park
EH14 3EY

For more information visit the The Yard website or to book to attend an email

0131 476 4506

Play Sense Create and Explore Art

WHALE Arts offers accessible and supportive individual and small group multi-arts sessions for children with additional support need and their families. Play Sense and Create sessions run for children aged five to 10 years, and Explore sessions run for children aged 11 to 16 years. Sessions run on Saturdays at 

WHALE Arts   
30 Westburn Grove
EH14 2SA

For more information or to book a session email 

Friday Friends 

Friday Friends run by the National Museum of Scotland and the Additional Support for Learning Service offers a welcoming space for visually impaired and D/deaf children who attend mainstream school and their families. The groups meet monthly and explore themes of the museum through objects, music, art and activities. Sessions also run at Edinburgh Zoo and the Palace of Holyrood. Sessions run from 2 pm to 4 pm. 

Chambers St,

For more information visit the National Museum of Scotland website or contact 

Relaxed openings at the National Museum of Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland offers a relaxed session on the first Sunday of every month from 10 am to 12 pm. Resources including visual stories, sunflower lanyards, a sensory map and sensory backpacks for children will be available. A quiet space will also be available if needed.

Chambers St,

For more information and to book visit the National Museum of Scotland website.

Whizz-Kidz Scotland

Whizz-Kidz Scotland offers online sessions for young wheelchair users and their families. Sessions include coffee and chatter time, dance and movement, arts and crafts and storytelling.

Join the Whizz Kidz Scotland Facebook group for more information or to book.