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What is Aberdeen Playscheme & Afterschool Support?

A-ND Aberdeen Playscheme, based at Carnie Drive, Aberdeen, offers a unique sensory and neurodivergent inclusive environment, fully renovated in April 2022 thanks to the support of our wonderful partners at Global E&C.

Our playscheme environment has been uniquely designed, in collaboration with our children and families, to meet the individual and sensory needs of autistic and neurodivergent children and young people from ages 4 to 18 years.


Our trained, skilled and dedicated staff team offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, focusing on having fun, while developing physical health, living skills and self care, wellbeing and self-esteem, supporting sensory differences, communication, social skills and relationships.  


We use Outcomes Star to co-produce personal plans and set agreed outcomes to work towards with our young people and often their parents/carers in the following areas: 

  • School & learning 

  • Your routine

  • Family

  • Friends 

  • Being healthy

  • How you feel

  • How you behave

  • Attention and organisation

  • Sensory differences 

Our Aberdeen Playscheme is registered with the Care Inspectorate as a Day Care of Children Service, and our registration allows us to support up to 20 children and young people in our Playscheme building at any one time.  


What do we do at Aberdeen Playscheme? 

The activities we enjoy focus on having fun and developing our children’s unique and indivdual developmental, social and communication needs and skills.  They include, to name but a few, arts and crafts, baking, soft and sensory play, gaming for some of our older teenagers, as well as outdoor activities such as visiting play parks, a variety of outdoor sports/play areas and local attractions.


For the teenagers, we have a large technology room where they can take part in technology-based pursuits (X-Box, Sony PlayStation & Wii), play pool or foosball, as well as a comfortable cinema room, with many of our young people finding large cinemas overwhelming and over stimulating. And of course, a kitchen where we work with our young people to create culinary masterpieces and build independent living skills.


Most activities support our children and young people with their sensory needs, regulation, as well as practice their hand-eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills, supporting development and social and communication skills, giving them confidence in a calm, inclusive and non-judgmental environment. 

We are hopefully soon to have our very own dedicated outdoor sensory play area at Carnie Drive. In Autumn 2022, we requested that our partners at Aberdeen City Council gift us the grassed area outside our Aberdeen Playscheme, however due to objections from a small number of local residents, this is sadly delayed and going to Public Consultation.  We really hope to have this resolved and have a secure, safe and dedicated outdoor space for our children by summer 2024.

When does the Playscheme & Afterschool Support run?

We currently offer 6 hour Playscheme sessions from 9.30am to 3.30pm during school term time every Saturday and Sunday.  During school holidays, we offer 6 hour Playscheme sessions from 9.30am to 3.30pm, 7 days per week.


For Afterschool Support, we offer sessions any time from 3pm for a minimum of 2 hours, up to 8pm, Monday to Friday throughout the school term and week. We can provide pick up from local schools in Aberdeen City on our minibus if requested.   

We recently had our registration varied with the Care Inspectorate (October 2023), allowing us to open from 7am up until 8pm, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. This will allow us to review our current offer of support and sessions, and our team will be collaborating with children and families, as well as various other stakeholders throughout the year to design and create the support needed and wanted.

How is Aberdeen Playscheme Funded?

Most of our children are funded either through Self Directed Support (SDS), Aberdeen City Council Disabilities Team or through our Keep the Promise Funding from the Corra Foundation and a limited amount of funding NHS Grampian for our Afterschool Support.  


Some children and young people are funded privately, or through a family member (self funded). Costs vary depending on the support ratio and length of session required for each young person. 

If we could provide free support, we absolutely would, regardless of age, post code, location or background. However to enable us to pay our valued & skilled staff a Real Living Wage, we require each young person to be fully funded. We truly hope this changes one day with better funding made available & are working hard to try & achieve equitable support for all who want & need it.

How do I make a referral?

Contact our Head Quarters on 01224 277 900 or email by clicking on the 'REFER HERE' button below. 

We have an ever-growing waiting list for our Aberdeen Playscheme , with a waiting list of 15 children (as at April 2024), and a waiting time generally of up to 2 years for a place. This is due to children often joining us at an early age and growing up with us until they are 18, when they require to finish their time at our Playscheme.

A Case Study 

Nurturing Connections and Transformations at the Aberdeen Playscheme (January 2024)


In the heart of Aberdeen, the journey of two young brothers and their family unfolds, encapsulating the essence of growth, understanding, and the pivotal role of nurturing relationships within the Autism and Neurodiversity North Scotland (A-ND) Aberdeen Playscheme. This story not only highlights the challenges faced by a traveller family in a society that often feels distant and judged, but also celebrates the triumph of compassion, understanding, and dedicated support in fostering positive change.


The Family's Challenge:


Living in a rural caravan setting, the family, consisting of two young girls and two boys with varying support needs including autism, ADHD, and severe eczema, experienced a life-altering event when their caravan was destroyed by fire. This loss, coupled with a move to a new town, unsettled the boys greatly, manifesting in escalated behaviours and discomfort, particularly within the Playscheme environment—one of the brothers even opted to remain on the Playscheme bus rather than engage in activities.


Compounded by communication challenges and the visible struggle of their mother to cope with the new circumstances, the family's distress was palpable. The boys often arrived unkempt, distressed, and without the necessary care items, such as properly labelled creams for their eczema, leading to further agitation and challenging behaviours towards staff and peers.


A Turnaround Strategy:


The breakthrough came following a Multi-Agency Meeting, which shed light on the mother's feelings of being overwhelmed and judged. The Playscheme team, recognising the need for a tailored approach, embarked on a journey to rebuild trust and support the family in a manner that resonated with their unique needs and circumstances.


Building Trust and Connection:


A specific team leader was appointed as the boys' key worker, establishing a consistent and familiar point of contact for the mother. This relationship-building strategy facilitated face-to-face interactions, gradually encouraging open dialogue about the family's challenges and needs. The team's patient and compassionate engagement led to a transformative shift in the mother's willingness to collaborate and communicate, laying the foundation for significant improvements in the boys' Playscheme experience.


Practical Support and Positive Outcomes:


With the establishment of a supportive and understanding connection, the mother began to prepare the boys more effectively for their Playscheme days. The staff's ability to remind her the night before and guide her through packing the boys' bags ensured that they arrived ready and equipped, including the necessary creams and dietary requirements. For the PEG-fed brother, staff training allowed for in-Playscheme feeding, addressing his hunger, and significantly improving his mood and engagement.


The once reluctant brother began to eagerly participate in Playscheme activities, seeking out staff for play and demonstrating a newfound comfort and happiness within the setting. This change was mirrored in his sibling, as both boys displayed increased confidence, comfort, and joy, actively seeking engagement, and forming positive relationships with consistent staff members.


A Ripple Effect of Support:


The family now benefits from additional Playscheme sessions, offering short breaks for the parents and further enriching the boys' experiences. This increased support has not only bolstered the boys' development but has also enhanced family life, providing opportunities for connection and rest.




The transformation witnessed in these young brothers, from distress and disengagement to joy and active participation, underscores the profound impact of empathy, understanding, and targeted support. The Playscheme's commitment to fostering positive relationships with families—especially those feeling marginalised—has proven instrumental in unlocking potential and nurturing growth. This case study celebrates the journey of a family once on the periphery, now thriving within the nurturing embrace of the A-ND community, and highlights the enduring value of connection, compassion, and community in supporting neurodiverse children and their families.

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