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Getting support for Additional Learning Needs

Find out what to do if you think a child or young person needs extra support to learn. Information on who to talk to and how to get support.


How to get support: A step-by-step guide 

As a parent or carer, you might be concerned your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN). A child or young person has ALN if they:

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age or

  • have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream maintained school or Further Education Institution

If you want to find out more about how you and your child can get support, please watch this video and read the step-by-step guide below.


Step 1: Speak to your child’s teacher

If you think that your child has Additional Learning Needs (ALN) talk to your child’s teacher or ALN Coordinator (ALNCo). They are trained to provide information, advice and guidance.


Step 2: Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) together

If the school agrees with you that your child has ALN, they will work with you, your child and any professionals involved with them to create an IDP. It is important that you do so, as you know your child best. An IDP is normally revised every 12 months, or sooner if required.


Step 3: IDP Reviews

An IDP is normally reviewed every 12 months, or sooner if required.



If you and the school are unable to agree that your child has ALN, or you are not happy with the content of your child’s IDP, the first thing to do would be to discuss this with your school. 


Disagreement and Resolution



Resources for children

Struggling in school?

If you find it harder to learn something, extra help is available. This video explains Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Individual Development Plans (IDP). You can also read these handy guides: