Local Offer – Sensory Support Service – VI – Birth to 5 years of age
Our service supports children and young people with sensory impairment (hearing impairment/deafness, vision impairment, multi-sensory impairment) from birth or as soon as a sensory impairment has been identified. Our aim is that children and young people have opportunities in life to thrive, succeed, reach their aspirations and have the best possible quality of life.
Below are a number of questions parents/carers may ask once their child has been identified as having a visual impairment. Scroll down to find the answers and please do contact us if you would like further information.
- My child has vision impairment, what happens now? How can my child be referred?
- How will my family be supported? What do you provide?
- I would like my child to attend an early years’ (EY) setting. What support is there for my child?
- Does my child need an Education Health and Care Plan? ( EHCP)
- What happens when my child goes to school and how will you support us?
My child has vision impairment, what happens now? How can my child be referred?
Anyone can refer to our service but we need medical information with a diagnosis or evidence of a vision impairment. Once we receive a referral and the medical information, we will make contact and arrange to meet you at a suitable time.
When we meet you we will gather some information, listen to any concerns/questions you may have, support you to understanding the potential implications of your child’s visual impairment. Then depending on the level of need of your child we will agree how best to support your family. This depends on the level of need of your child and what suits you best. We will also inform you of early years’ groups run by ourselves and other services.
How will my family be supported? What do you provide?
Most referrals come from a health professional (Bristol Eye Hospital / Royal United Hospital) but we would also accept other referrals as long as there is medical information about the child’s eye sight and a level of vision impairment has been identified. Once we receive a referral we will make contact and offer to meet you at home at a suitable time.
All children identified with vision impairment will be allocated a QTVI (Qualified Teacher for the Visually Impaired). The amount and type of input depends on level of need, whether there are other professionals involved.
The QTVI will carry out an initial assessment as well as on-going assessment to identify strategies / skills / aids needed to minimise any potential negative impact of the child’s condition. We will also inform you of the developmental journal for young children and babies with visual impairment and support you using it. We may support you at home and or early years’ setting. Find out more about what we provide here
I would like my child to attend an early years’ (EY) setting. What support is there for my child?
All settings have a duty to make reasonable adjustments in line with the equality act duty. Local Authorities have systems in place to provide funding for children who require additional support.
The QTVI will help you find information about EY settings, help you think of factors/issues that may help you make a choice of setting, and in some cases a joint visit may be arranged to meet staff, look at the environment etc. We do not advise on which EY setting your child should attend.
The QTVI will advise EY settings about improvements to their environment, provide training to staff and on-going advice to implement strategies / use adaptations/modifications required and for some children direct support to develop specialist skills.
Does my child need an Education Health and Care plan (EHCP)?
Under the equality act, every setting has the duty to make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of children with SEN. The majority of children with vision impairment do not require an EHCP to ensure their needs are met. If the level of need of your child is very significant they may meet the criteria for an EHCP. Some local authorities also provide funding to meet these needs without the need to have an EHCP.
Some children with vision impairment may not meet the criteria because of their vision impairment but because other needs are taken into consideration, e.g. physical, cognitive etc.
Follow the links below to find out more about the statutory assessment process in your local authority:
I am thinking about my child starting school. What happens when my child goes to school and how will you support us?
Your LA has information on schools in your area (see links below). The QTVI will support you thinking about your child’s needs and what factors may be important in ensuring their needs can be met For children with significant needs, you are encouraged to consider the range of provision available (mainstream, mainstream with specialist provision, special school for deaf children or generic special school if appropriate) so that you can make an informed choice. When you visit we would encourage you to look at the environment (what adaptations are needed),to meet the staff, to find out how they organise their teaching and learning and what other opportunities they would be able to offer your child. Each school should have a School Information Report showing how they meet needs of children and young people with SEN, etc.
The QTVI will support the transition process in collaboration with other professionals, such as the SENCO of the school and SENCO or key worker in previous EY setting, habilitation officer if appropriate, and other professionals / therapists if your child has a range of needs. The QTVI will offer training specific to your child’s VI needs and ensure that school staff are aware of what they need to do to provide a smooth transition to your child and provide a learning environment that helps your child learn, thrive and enjoy.
Find out more information about how we support you at school in the Local Offer – VI – 5 to 15 years of age.