YOUNG people with additional support needs and their families have worked with a Scottish university to help identify key areas of research which could improve their lives.

The 10 priorities, which include devising approaches to tackling bullying and creating the best learning environments, will be used to inform new research initiatives at the University of Edinburgh and worldwide.

The list follows a consultation to better understand the requirements of people living with additional needs and the professionals who support them.

Estimates suggest that as many as one in five children in Scotland have a learning difficulty, which can often be linked to conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD and autism.

Tests to spot the early signs and identify the best ways that professionals can support families were highlighted as key goals in the consultation.

More than 700 responses were received from across Scotland during the consultation, which was promoted by charities, professional organisations and on social media.

The project was led by the Salvesen Mindroom Centre and the university, in partnership with the James Lind Alliance, a non-profit organisation that helps set research priorities.

Project leader Professor Anne O’Hare, director of the SMC Research Centre for Learning Difficulties at the University of Edinburgh, said: “It is vital that people with learning difficulties are given a voice and are involved in research design from the outset.

“We are delighted to now have clear priorities for our research going forward and are hopeful that the project will lead to improvements in diagnosis and support.”

The Salvesen Mindroom Centre’s chief executive, Christine Carlin, said: “Today’s launch is an exciting step towards ensuring that every person with a learning difficulty in Scotland receives the recognition and the support they need to achieve their potential. We look forward to working alongside the University of Edinburgh and wider research community to make that happen.”

The top priority related to the knowledge, skills and training needed by educational professionals to identify the early signs of additional support needs to help affected children achieve the best outcomes. The list also included learning environments and the efficacy of early interventions.

Sam McGovern, ambassador for Dyslexia Scotland and a young person who helped choose the priorities, added: “It is so good that young people have had as much of a voice in setting the top 10 as parents and professionals. Kids, as much as adults, know what is important when you have a learning difficulty.”