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  

info@firsthand-lothian.org.uk 

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 

info@firsthand-lothian.org.uk 

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 

info@firsthand-lothian.org.uk 

0131 523 1322 and leave a message  

To make an application visit the Firsthand 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 email 

jan.holden@firsthand-lothian.org.uk

07340 162277. 

Kindred

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 

enquiries@kindred-scotland.org 

0800 031 5793 

The Action group - Parents Carewell Advice service

This service provides holistic advice and support for all parent carers who have a child with a disability, developmental delay or long-term health condition and reside in Edinburgh. Contact  

0131 285 5207 

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

careradvice@actiongroup.org.uk 

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 

centre@vocal.org.uk 

0131 622 6666. 

For free courses and events for carers visit the VOCAL Support website

Enquire About Additional Support for Learning

Visit Enquire's additional support for learning: A guide for parents and carers webpage for information and support on understanding additional support for learning, getting the right support, school attendance and exclusion and working with the school. Alternatively, contact the Helpline between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

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 physiotherapy webpage

Occupational therapy and advice

Occupational therapy can help babies, infants, children, and young people learn, have fun, socialise and play so they can develop, thrive and reach their full potential.

NHS Lothian has lots of information and advice from occupational therapists including 

  • tips sheets on meal times
  • fine motor skills
  • dressing and toileting

Parents and Carers or professionals working with a family can request support from the NHS Lothian Children and Young People’s Occupational Service by completing their request for assistance form.  

If you require further information, are looking for some general advice, or if you would like to discuss a request for assistance contact

0131 312 1070

NHS Forth Valley Occupational Therapy team also have tip sheets organised by age group, including sensory activities for children and young people who have sensory needs.

Child development concerns NHS Lothian web pages

Visit the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People website for information and support for parents and carers who have any concerns about their child's development.   

ERIC – The Children’s Bladder and Bowel Charity

ERIC is a national charity dedicated to improving children’s bowel and bladder health. With support for parents and professionals on bedwetting, toilet training, and toilet anxiety. Family webinars are available on a range of topics relating to incontinence.

Access the free helpline for specialist information and advice between 10 am and 2 pm From Monday to Thursday on

0808 801 0343

For more information visit the ERIC website.

Activities parents and children with additional support needs can do together

The Very Inclusive Play Club  

The VIP Club supports the learning and development of children aged 0-6 who have additional needs. The group sessions are carefully designed to support each child’s development in a variety of areas. No diagnosis is required.  

Sessions cost £15 per session, though subsidised places are available. 

The group runs on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in the eco bothy at 

Bridgend Farmhouse 
41 Old Dalkeith Road 
Edinburgh 
EH16 4TE  

For more information or to book visit The Very Inclusive Playgroup Website  

or contact 

thevipclub17@gmail.com  

07799616203 

VIP Sensory Play and Support 

A group run by the Very Inclusive Playgroup (VIP) for babies and toddlers (0-3yrs) and their parents, who have additional support needs or reduced mobility. Sessions aim to develop children’s senses with activities that include touch, smell, sight, sound, movement, and body awareness. No diagnosis is required.  

Sessions cost £10 per session, though subsidised places are available. 

The group runs on Mondays during term time from 10.30 am to 11.30 am at 

Bridgend Farmhouse 
41 Old Dalkeith Road 
Edinburgh 
EH16 4TE  

For more information or to book visit The Very Inclusive Playgroup Website  

or contact 

thevipclub17@gmail.com  

07799616203 

Deaf Action Toddler Group

This supportive group runs for both hearing and deaf parents and their deaf or hearing toddlers.  Sessions run on the last Saturday of the month from 11 am to 1 pm. 

Deaf Action  
49 Albany Street  
EH1 3QY 

Visit the Deaf Action Parent & Toddler Group Facebook page to join the closed group. 

For more information visit the Deaf Action website or email 

youthservice@deafaction.org 

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. 

208 Niddrie Mains Road,
Edinburgh Area,
Edinburgh
H16 4ND

For more information, please email

mc@jackkanecommunity.org  

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,
EH5 1NF

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.  

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. 

Sessions run at  

The Yard  
22 Eyre Place Lane  
EH3 5EH  

For more information visit The Yard's website or contact 

earlyyears@theyardscotland.org.uk

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 Yard's website or to book to attend contact 

earlyyears@theyardscotland.org.uk

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 visit the WHALE Arts website or to book a session email

Play-Sense-Create@whalearts.co.uk or contact 

0131 458 3267 

Friday Friends 

Friday Friends offers a welcoming space for visually impaired and D/deaf children who attend mainstream school and their families. The groups meet monthly and explore different themes through objects, music, art and activities. In partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council Additional Support for Learning team, sessions alternate between The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo and Holyrood Palace. Sessions run from 2 pm to 4 pm.  
 
Chambers St, 
Edinburgh 
EH1 1JF 
 
For more information visit the National Museum of Scotland website or contact  

communities@nms.ac.uk 

0131 247 4313.

Relaxed Magic Carpet 

Monthly Relaxed Magic Carpet Sessions are run by the National Museum of Scotland introducing children to some of the wonderful objects and themes in the museum in a fun and gentle way through songs, stories, rhymes, actions and sensory play. 

Session runs from 10.30 am to 11.15 am and 2 pm to 2.45 pm at  

Chambers Street 
Edinburgh 
EH1 1JF 

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

communities@nms.ac.uk 

0131 247 4313 

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,
Edinburgh
EH1 1JF
For more information visit the National Museum of Scotland website or contact  

communities@nms.ac.uk 

0131 247 4313

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 and to book visit the Whizz Kidz Website 

at info@whizz-kidz.org.uk 

020 7233 6600.