Support for families

Neurodiversity

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

Neurodiversity is the concept that when it comes to the human brain, people do not end up all the same. Everyone has different talents, strengths and things that they find difficult. Neurodiversity is not always visible or labelled. While some neurodivergent people will have a diagnosis such as Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, Tourette syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FASD), dyslexia or dyspraxia, many will not. Neurodiversity causes differences in individuals’ experiences and behaviours. For more information on Neurodiversity visit the NHS Lothian Royal Hospital for Children and Young People website. 

Information and Support for Parents of Neurodivergent Children

A helpful list of resources and services collated by NHS Lothian for families who are awaiting or have received a neurodevelopmental assessment. It includes links to helpful websites, as well as some brief strategies and techniques which may be useful.

Information and supports for parents of neurodivergent children.docx (nhslothian.scot)

Barnardo’s ND:well service 

This service is part of a network of community mental health services which runs as part of a partnership with Tailor Ed and Number 6. It’s the first port of call for neurodivergent children and young people or their parents, looking for support with their mental health and wellbeing.

The service is for children and young people aged between 5 to 24 years old and/or their parents, who live in the City of Edinburgh and are neurodivergent. This includes children and young people with a diagnosis of autism, ADHD and intellectual disability. At the Community Drop Ins parents or young people can access a sounding board and listening ear from a skilled and experienced support worker. They can provide access to information, resources and guidance as needed. They can also refer you to their services where suitable or signpost you to other services across the city that will best fit your needs.

Community Drop Ins run at Craigmillar Library 101 Niddrie Mains Road, EH16 4DS. Monthly on Tuesdays from 10am to  pm. 

  • 16 July 
  • 13 August 
  • 10 September 
  • 15 October 
  • 12 November 
  • 10 December 

Barnardos, 111 Oxgangs Road North, EH14 1ED. Weekly on Mondays from 1 pm to 3 pm.

Silverknowes Golf Club, 118 Silverknowes Road, EH4 5ET. Wednesdays from 9 am to 12 pm. 

Dean Park Primary, 31 Marchbank Gardens, Balerno, EH14 7ET. Monthly on Tuesdays. 

To book a slot at one of the Community Drop-In sessions add 'DROP IN' to the subject line of an email to  NDwell@barnardos.org.uk   

For more information visit the ND:well website

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 Mindroom’s Facebook and Mindroom’s Twitter (X) pages email directhelp@mindroom.org call 0131 370 6730.

Parent and Carer Peer Support Group 

This group run by Salvesen Mindroom is for parents and carers of neurodivergent children or those with additional support needs. Each monthly online group will have a theme where parents and carers can share information, resources, and strategies which they have found helpful. Sessions run from 10.30 am to 11.30 am on Teams.

For more information on the next session or to book to attend visit the Parent and Carer website email directhelp@mindroom.org or call 0131 370 6730

Dyspraxia/Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)

Booklet in Understanding the Strengths and Difficulties of Dyspraxia/DCD A guide for parents to further understand children with DCD and give you some more ideas of how to support them.

Download the guide from The University of Edinburgh website.

BEAT Endeavour AFRID carer support group

A weekly 90-minute peer support group for parents and carers of children and young people aged 5 to15 years with or without a diagnosis of Avoidance/ Restrictive Food/ Intake Disorder (AFRID). Delivered via Zoom by one of Beat’s experienced eating disorder clinicians. Learning over of a period of 8 weeks, the group will deepen your understanding of ARFID by looking at the common behaviours and presentations, as well as improving an understanding of the experience of food for individuals with ARFID. Over the duration of the programme parents and carers can learn new skills to improve their confidence in communicating their needs with school and healthcare professionals.

Sign up for sessions via the Beat Eating Disorders website.

Autism

Support for children and young people with autism 

Tailor Ed Early Years’ Service

This Early Years’ Service is for families with a child with a diagnosis of autism, living in The City of Edinburgh and East Lothian. Referrals can be made for children entering their preschool year by parents and professionals in Autumn each year.

For more information or to make a referral contact

contact@tailoredfoundation.co.uk

07980702962

Family Group

A group for neurodivergent children, young people aged 5-16 years and their parents and carers. Providing an opportunity for parents and carers to meet, and access peer support and information, while children and young people access activities run by staff and volunteers. Siblings are welcome. Little ones need to be supervised by parents/carers. Parents/carers are welcome to attend with or without their child/teenager. This initiative runs in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Lifelong Learning team, the With Kids Project and the WHY Project.

The group runs on Fridays from 2 pm to 3.30 pm from Friday 19th April to Friday 21st June. Sessions run at 

Big Hearts 
Tynecastle Park 
Wheatfield St 
Edinburgh 
EH11 2NZ 

For further information contact 

Katy Forrester k.forrester@withkids.org.uk 

Barnardos Sibling Group

A fun supportive group for children and young people aged 7 to 12 years old who have a sibling who is neurodivergent. Young people can learn about neurodivergence, meet others with similar experiences, play fun games and have an amazing snack. The group runs monthly on Saturdays from 10 am to 11.30 am at  

Barnardos 
111 Oxgangs Road North  
EH14 1ED

If your child is interested in attending contact 

NDwell@barnardos.org.uk

The A-Teens group 

This relaxed group allows young people with Autism aged 14 to 18 years to meet and socialize with peers.

The group runs on Thursday afternoons from 3.30 pm to 5 pm at Canongate Youth Centre. Visits can be arranged beforehand.

Please contact Sima Carrasco, Wellbeing Worker. Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 9 am and 5 pm on

07799243565

Chill Youth Club run by The Speech Language Communication Company

This supportive and creative social club is for young people aged 16 to 25 years who experience speech, language and communication barriers. Sessions will help boost self-confidence and build life skills. Sessions run on Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm and are free of charge at

Fetlor Youth Club
122 Crewe Road South 
EH42NY

Contact Judith Woodward 

Families@s-l-co.uk

07507 535 857

Branch out together 

Services, information, and practical support to individuals on the autistic spectrum, their families and carers in Edinburgh and the Lothians. This includes respite schemes, and social clubs for children and young people with autism.

For more information visit the Branch Out Together website or contact 

 A.Sinclair@branchouttogether.org

0131 661 3834 

Support for parents and carers of children with autism 

Autism Parent/Carer Information Sessions

Autism information sessions are run by the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian. The free sessions are available for parents and carers of children with an autistic diagnosis (or exploring autism as a possibility), children are required to be attending a mainstream school or early years setting.  Sessions for different age ranges take place throughout the year on Microsoft Teams. 
 
Pre-recorded sessions will be made available to those who register after each live session. Subtitles in most languages are available for pre-recorded sessions. Future sessions will be accessible through Eventbrite. Parents/ carers should book up to 4 days before each session start date to secure a place or to receive the recordings. 

For more information visit the Autism Parent Information Sessions Eventbrite

0131 469 2850

Cygnet Autism programme - Barnardos

This course is open to parents, carers and family members who have an autistic child between five and 18 years old and live in the Lothians. The course is delivered online via Zoom and consists of six two-hour sessions once a week covering all aspects of autism, including sensory and communication issues. Date and times vary for each course to suit as many people as possible.

To register for a place email

NDwell@barnardos.org.uk and put Cygnet in the Subject line.

Information on the content can be found on the Barnardos website.

Get set 4 Autism

Get Set 4 Autism provides support to parents and carers of autistic children and young people up to the age of 18 years old. The programme offers support to parent and carers with children on the waiting list for an autism assessment and also post assessment support following an autism diagnosis. Four to six sessions can be offered virtually or by phone and will cover up to five areas of support identified.

For more information visit the Scottish Autism website or contact

advice@scottishautism.org

01259 222022

Scottish Autism Click and Connect programme 

Click and Connect offers four free online groups including Art and Choir groups for those who enjoy being creative. They also offer Autism Peer Support Group for an informal and relaxed space for support and discussion and a Mindfulness for Autism Group for those who are looking to reduce the impact of stress. The groups are a great way to come together and meet new and like-minded people in a safe and friendly environment. The groups are delivered online via Zoom and are open to the autistic community and their families across Scotland. 

For more information and to book, visit Scottish Autism's website.

ND:well Understanding Autism Group

ND: well’s Understanding Autism group is for autistic individuals aged 5-16 and their parents/carers to better understand what diagnosis really means to each young person attending. It aims to develop self-acceptance through a better understanding of autism in general, their own needs, as well as acquire a tool for to better manage life as an autistic young person. The group will cover what autism is and how life experiences can be different for autistic individuals including sensory differences, energy management and personal and social relationships. 

ND:well/TailorED 
22 Hill Street  
EH2 3JZ. 

Email: NDwell@barnardos.org.uk  

For more information visit the ND:well website

ND:well Wellbeing group 

The Wellbeing group is for autistic individuals aged 5-16 and their parents/carers. It explores emotional and mental wellbeing from an autistic perspective. It explores people’s motivations, values, and the importance of special interests. It covers how to meet physical, sensory, and emotional needs; as well as why it can be so difficult to get these needs met. The group shares some tools that can help build healthy well-being habits. 

ND:well 
22 Hill Street  
EH2 3JZ. 

Email: NDwell@barnardos.org.uk   

For more information visit the ND:well website

ND:well Parent information session (online) 

These 1-hour sessions cover the following topics: emotion regulation, understanding needs and development tools, sharing an autism diagnosis with your child, energy management, helping young autistic people avoid and manage burnout, sleep and sensory regulation. Sessions are online, alongside other parents and carers sometimes with their supporting professionals. Sessions run twice per week with a new topic each week.  

Click to download a referral form.

For more information visit the ND:well website or contact

NDwell@barnardos.org.uk  

Encouraging Eating Webinar

This is a webinar offering mealtime and eating advice for parents and carers who have autistic children and young people. This session was developed by NHS Lothian professionals from Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and CAMHS Intellectual Disability, in partnership with the ASL team.

To watch the webinar visit the Vimeo website.

Scottish Autism Advice Line

The Scottish Autism offers an Advice Line providing advice and support for individuals and families about autism via online chat or phone. It is available Tuesday to Friday between 10 am and 4 pm.

For more information on online events visit the Scottish Autism website or contact

01259 222 022

advice@scottishautism.org.

Number 6 One Stop Shop 

Number 6 is a service run by Autism Initiatives for autistic adults over 16 years who are formally diagnosed with autism and have no additional learning disability. The service supports young people and adults in Edinburgh, Lothians or the Scottish Borders. Number 6 provides free social opportunities and 1-1 advice and support on a range of issues.

Self-referrals or third-party referrals can be made by contacting

number6@aiscotland.org.uk  

An initial appointment will be arranged via phone/video call or in person at Number 6.

Number 6
24 Hill Street
EH2 3JZ

For more information visit the Number 6 website.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Hub Scotland 

The FASD Hub Scotland offers a range of resources including fact sheets, peer groups and an advice line. The advice line is available to all parents and carers in Scotland parenting a child or young person with a history of prenatal alcohol exposure. The advice line is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10 am until 2 pm and on Fridays from 10 am until 1 pm.  

For more information visit the FASD Hub Scotland website or contact 

fasdhub.scotland@adoptionuk.org.uk 

0300 666 0006  

#E Project 

A service for children and young people who are adopted, living in kinship care and/or living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Monthly online sessions aim to develop individual skills, social interactions, confidence and self-esteem. Face-to-face opportunities and experiences also run. Open to school-aged children/young people and 18 to 25-year-olds.

For more information contact 

thepromise@adoptionuk.org.uk  

0131 202 3670 

Attention, Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 

Scottish ADHD Coalition

The Scottish ADHD Coalition voluntary organisations providing support to adults and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Scotland, and their parents, carers and families.

Visit the Scottish ADHD Coalition webpage for more information. 

Understanding the Strengths and Difficulties of ADHD: A guide for parents

A booklet to help further understand your child with ADHD and give you some more ideas of how to support them.

Download the guide from The University of Edinburgh website.