Specialist support

A national approach to supporting and working with all children and young people in Scotland

Getting the right support for your child

The education system sets out to ensure that every child is supported to reach their fullest potential. This means supporting every child in a way that helps them overcome any barriers to their learning.


Most children and young people with autism attend their mainstream school with help and support from their teachers and support staff. Some require more specialised support.

Specialist support can come from an educational psychologist, support for learning teacher, speech and language therapist, the ASD Outreach Team or other support professionals.

Your school or nursery will agree with you the best support for your child.

The ASD Outreach Team

This team consists of primary and secondary teachers and support staff. They’re trained to understand autism and the range of supports that help children and young people be happy, safe and achieving in nursery or school.

The team can:

  • visit you and your child at home
  • work directly with your child or in a small group
  • attend meetings to support your child's plan
  • help with resources and ideas to help your child

Autism provisions

Autism provisions are specialised bases that provide low sensory, small-group learning for children and young people with autism. There are three primary schools and one secondary school that have specialised facilities for children with autism:

Placement in autism provisions is normally accessed where there is agreement that a supported mainstream placement cannot meet the child’s needs. Parents and carers can also make a placing request. In either case, requests will be considered by a local authority panel.


Dyslexia can be described as a variety of difficulties in learning to read, write or spell. Signs that might point to dyslexia include:

  • being able to talk about their learning easier than reading or writing about it
  • having short-term memory problems, and difficulty with sequencing
  • persistent spelling difficulties
  • appearing to have a poor concentration span, or being forgetful or disorganised
  • difficulty with telling the time, and learning multiplication tables

Sensory impairment

Sensory impairment may affect a child or young person’s hearing or vision moderately or more severely. This can cause problems with communication, mobility and learning.

Support for children

We can support learning and development for children with a sensory impairment through:

  • specialised equipment
  • adapted resources
  • direct teaching
  • staff training

We can also provide support through a specialised team of professionals who work with families, schools, educational psychologists, and other health and education professionals. The services they can provide includes:

  • support and advice to families
  • visits to children in various settings to support learning
  • referral to audiology/ENT if a hearing loss is identified
  • working with ophthalmology staff if appropriate
  • speech training– such as language development, British Sign Language, Braille, life skills and mobility
  • advise, support and train school staff on sensory impairment issues

Requesting support

Speak to your school or nursery if you believe your child needs additional support.

Health and medication

Some children may need extra help in school to:

  • manage a life-long health condition
  • cope with a serious illness with uncertain duration
  • cope with episodes of mental illness
  • return to school after an illness

Schools in Stirling will fully involve parents or carers in agreeing how best to support a child with health needs.

Most medication and healthcare support in school will be provided by teaching or support staff. Sometimes extra input from Health Services may also be needed. The Scottish government have provided draft guidance on this.

Read the draft guidance on the Scottish Government website.

The Care Inspectorate provides clear guidance for administering medicine for young children in nurseries, crèches, childminders, afterschool clubs and playgroups.

Visit the Care Inspectorate website

Additional special needs transport

Requests for home to school transport are dealt with through the Staged Intervention process. Your child’s need for transport will be assessed, along with the need for an escort to accompany them when they travel.

Speak to your child’s head teacher or support co-ordinator if you wish to apply for this service.

If your request for transport is approved, it will be reviewed regularly with you and your child’s support team. New requests will be completed by the end of March each year, in preparation for the start of the following school year.

Read the transport and guidance for parents and carers for a full description of how the service works.

English as an additional language

Where English is not the main language spoken at a child’s home, it’s important to the child to maintain their first language. This helps them with identity and ensures values and traditions are upheld.

At the same time, these children may need extra support with English language studies. While most of this support will be provided by school staff, some children and young people may need additional help.

Our English as an Additional Language (EAL) team can help children, young people, families and schools with advice, support and resources.

Some of this support can be developed around the school environment, activities and curriculum. The EAL team can also:

  • provide teaching staff development
  • suggest resources and strategies to meet the needs of children and young people
  • support assessments of children and young people
  • attend meetings as required
  • work directly with children or young people who have additional support needs
  • support the transition and networking of EAL children or young people

Getting support

Requests for support can be made through the Staged Intervention process. If the request is agreed, EAL teachers will join the existing team around the child in planning appropriate support.

If you have concerns about your child’s English language skills, contact your school or nursery.

Interpreter services

EAL and interpreter services are also available to support schools and families. This allows families to be fully involved in their child's learning.