Local Offer – Sensory Support Service – HI – 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.
These are a number of questions parents/carers may ask once their child has been identified as having a hearing impairment. Scroll down to find answers – do contact us if you would like further information.
- My child is deaf, 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 is deaf, what happens now? How can my child be referred?
Most referrals come from the Children’s Hearing Centres but we would also accept other referrals as long as children have been seen by audiology and a level of deafness has been identified. Once we receive a referral we will make contact within 1 working day and offer to meet you at home at a suitable time.
When we meet you we will gather some information, listen to any concerns/questions you may have and we will talk about how often we will visit to help you encourage your child’s early communication skills and development.
We will work together with you to monitor your child’s progress, provide ongoing support if your child is fitted with hearing aids and work together with audiologists at children’s hearing centres. Establishing good use of hearing aids is important for early brain development and listening skills.
We will also inform you of our early years’ group ACORNS and other services and voluntary organisations that can support you alongside ourselves, like NDCS (National Deaf Children’s Society). See reply to the next question to find out more about what we do.
How will my family be supported? What do you provide?
All deaf children will be allocated a ToD (Teacher of Deaf). The amount and type of input depends on level of need, whether there are other professionals involved and what suits you best. We will carry out an initial assessment of need and on-going assessment to identify strategies, skills and hearing technology to support your child. We will also tell you about the Monitoring Protocol for deaf babies and children and we can support you in using it. This could be at home or at an early years setting. Please find out more about what we provide in the early years 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. Local Authorities have systems in place to provide funding for children who require additional support.
The ToD will let you know where to find information about EY settings, help you think of factors/issues that may help you make a decision, and in some cases a joint visit may be arranged to meet staff and look at the environment etc. The choice of setting always remains with the family.
The ToD will advise EY settings about improvements to their environment, improved acoustics and provide training to staff. They will provide on-going advice to implement strategies and modifications which may be required to improve the listening environment. For some children direct support may be provided to develop language and communication skills.
To find out early years’ providers and childcare in your local authority, check the links below:
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 deaf children 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 hearing impairment may not meet the criteria because of their hearing 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:
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 ToD 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 ToD 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 and other professionals / therapists if your child has a range of needs. The ToD will offer training specific to your child’s 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 – HI – 5 to 15 years of age.