Inclusion and wellbeing

Assistance for pupils with additional support needs

A child or young person is said to have additional support needs if they need more help with their education. An additional support need comes from anything which is a barrier to learning.

The Additional Support for Learning (ASL) Service

  • strengthens the capacity of schools, early years providers and partner services
  • anticipates and meets learners’ needs
  • supports families to play a key role in the education and wellbeing of their children and young people with additional support needs.

The ASL Service is made up of teams, which work with schools, nurseries and partner services. Read what our teams do below.

Read about the ASL legislations and policies

Access support

If your child is school age, their school will refer them to us.

If your child is pre-school age, the health visitor or a medical professional will refer them to us.

The professional will consult you before they make the referral.

Contact your schools for details.

ASL Service teams

Early years team

We support to children from birth into primary 1. We work in homes, nurseries and schools.

English as an additional language

We support schools and early years settings to meet the needs of developing bilingual learners. We work with parents and carers to support pupils' wellbeing, equality and inclusion. We provide bilingual support for beginner English language learners.

Inclusion support team

We support children and young people with complex needs including

  • autism
  • learning difficulties
  • experienced trauma
  • attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

We support pupils who are

  • living with parents who are abusing substances
  • on the child protection register
  • looked after or looked after and accommodated
  • pregnant or a young mum
  • young carers.

We also support care experienced pupils and those that struggle to attend school, through interventions such as forest schools.

Literacy and dyslexia support team

We support and teach pupils with severe literacy difficulties and dyslexia who, despite support in their own school, have found it difficult to make progress in literacy.

Read about the literacy and dyslexia guidelines for pupils


We support learners who may benefit from the use of technology to support their learning.


We help people with communication difficulties use technology to contribute to and control their environments. This type of technology is known as alternative and augmentative communication (AAC).

We are funded by NHS Lothian and City of Edinburgh Council.

We support children in

  • Edinburgh
  • West Lothian
  • Midlothian
  • East Lothian.

Visual impairment

We are a team made up of

  • teachers of the visually impaired
  • a mobility teacher
  • a habilitation assistant
  • specialist nursery nurses
  • a resource team.

We work with children from birth and throughout their time at school. We support children in

  • Edinburgh
  • Midlothian
  • West Lothian.

Deaf support team

We work with colleagues from the NHS and deaf associations.

We are teachers and nursery nurses who support

  • children and young people (0-18) with a range of types and levels of deafness
  • young deaf learners and their families
  • schools and nurseries with teaching and communication support.

Medical outreach and medical hospital support

We support pupils who can’t attend school due to illness. We teach a range of subjects. Schools provide information about a pupil’s learning and this information is used to create a plan for learning.

Specialist provision

We support children in our special schools and language units who have learning disabilities and complex social and emotional and communication needs.

Out of school club support

Edinburgh work in partnership with out of school organisations to support inclusion of children and young people with additional support needs. 

Request out of school club support


If you have an enquiry related to children and young people with additional support needs, you can send this to