Supporting disabled children, young people and their families: guidance

Guidance to help improve the experiences of disabled children, young people, and their families.

Early learning and childcare

In this section you can find out..

Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) provision ensures equality of access for, and account for the different needs of all children. Needs can vary depending on a number of factors, including whether a child is disabled and/or has additional support needs (ASN).

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended) ensures children’s additional support needs are identified and provided for in ELC settings. This duty applies where it is established by the education authority, possibly via assessment, that they do have such needs. Where a child has identified additional support needs, parents can request that schools start planning for this up to 6 months before the child starts pre-school. Where a child has a disability, which may give rise to additional support needs, the Health Visitor can make the local authority aware right from birth to enable appropriate support to be provided.

Additional support may be provided outside education, such as from an occupational therapist from social work services or a speech and language therapist from health services ; the  Supporting Children’s Learning Code of Practice provides guidance to help understand what kind of support should be provided.

What Early Learning and Childcare support can I claim now?

All children aged three and four are entitled to free early learning and childcare. Free places are also available to some families with two- year-olds if their parent or carer receives certain benefits. Find out how to claim.

Parentclub has information for parents and expectant parents about their rights and support available.

Where can I go for more information?

The Scottish Family Information Service provides free, impartial information on ELC for all families.

Find out more about the what the Scottish Government is doing.

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