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Knowsley Council Visual Impairment Habilitation Service for Children and Young People

Delivered under contract by Bradbury Fields Services for Blind and Partially Sighted People working in Partnership with The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. 

1. What does your service do? 

What is the key purpose of your service and how does it contribute to better outcomes for children and young people with SEND and their families?

  • Service for Children and Young People (CYP) with a Visual Impairment (VI).
  • Sight Impaired/Partially Sighted & Severely Sight Impaired/Blind Registration.
  • Assessment of Visual Impairment Needs to identify what support is needed for CYP and their family at home, in the community and at school.
  • Provide CYP, parents/carers and professionals with advice, information, support, strategies, training to maximise independence and social integration.

What are the typical activities that you do?

  • Provide pre-school children Early Foundation Mobility and Independence Training.
  • Provide CYP in Mainstream & Special Needs Schools with Mobility and Independence Training, including long cane training, travel skills, daily living skills, communications and low vision training, at home, in the community (including accessing activities) and school.
  • Transition support for young people to the Adult Visual Impairment Service where appropriate, Higher Education, Employment and Day Services.
  • Assess for specialist VI Equipment for Mobility and Independence.
  • VI Awareness Training in Schools and other settings linked to CYP.
  • Environmental assessments of schools for individual CYP.
  • Sign posting and referrals to other services, including specialist Visual Impairment services and benefits maximisation.

Do you have any limitations on the amount of time your service will support a child or young person?

  • Support is determined by the needs of the CYP
  • Service provision is up to the age of 18 years.

Do you provide any on-going support?

  • Support is determined by the needs of the CYP.
  • Severely Sight Impaired/Blind CYP receive weekly on-going mobility skills development training up to the age of 18 years.

2. Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

Where are your main locations and do you work across the whole local authority area?

  • Service is provided across Knowsley Local Authority
  • Service is provided in the home, community and at school.

Are there any differences in your offer in different parts of the local authority area?

  • Service is provided equally across all areas of Knowsley Local Authority.

3. Who does your service provide for?

What types of need and age ranges do you cover?

  • CYP with a significant Visual Impairment from 0-18 Years

What are the eligibility criteria to use your service?

  • CYP with a significant Visual Impairment living in Knowsley

Are there any types of disabilities that you do not provide for?

  • CYP with a Visual Impairment and additional needs can access the service.
  • CYP with a Visual Impairment and complex needs may not benefit from all aspects of the service and may require the involvement of specialist professionals who can meet their specific needs. 

4. How can I start using the service?

Can I make direct contact myself or would there need to be a referral from someone else and if so, who?

  • Young People, parents/carers and professionals can make a referral directly via the Knowsley Access Team on 0151 443 2600.

Do you charge for the service and if so what are the costs?

  • No

Can I use my personal budget to pay for the service or to add to the service?

  • N/A

Are there any waiting lists and if so, how long are they?

  • No

5. How are decisions made about who can use your service?

How are these decisions made and who makes them?

  • A visit will be made to your home to talk about how you manage with your Visual Impairment and about what you would like to do or need to do to be more independent.

How will I know the reasons behind their decisions?

  • An explanation will be given to you to provide you with information about the service that can be provided to you and why.

How will you help me understand them?

  • We will talk about what we will do together and decide how we are going to do it and when.

Does your service have a complaints policy and where can I see it?

  • Yes, contact Knowsley Council 0151 489 6000 for information or go to the Knowsley Council website www.knowsley.gov.uk

6. How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making/planning?

What are your usual methods of seeking the views of service users?

  • Decision making about individual provision is made in consultation with CYP and parents/carers by face to face or telephone contact.

What leaflets and information do you have?

How does the service communicate with parent/carers whose first language is not English?

  • An interpreter will be provided

How will I know how well my child or young person is doing?

  • Regular feedback will be given about your child’s Mobility and Independence Training and progress.
  • Parents/carers are shown how to and are encouraged to support their child’s Mobility and Independence Training.

Do you offer any parent training or learning events?

  • Individual skills training for CYP with a Visual Impairment is demonstrated to parents/carers with the CYP present, parents/carers involvement is important to the CYP development and learning.

7. Is you service fully accessible?

Is the building fully wheelchair accessible?

  • CYP access the service in their home, community and school.
  • Bradbury Fields Centre is accessible
  • Centre for Independent Living (CIL) is accessible,

    service information is on the CIL website www.knowsleycil.org  

Have there been improvements in the auditory and visual environment?

  • CYP access the service in their home, community and school (Environmental Access recommendations are made in schools)
  • Bradbury Fields provides services for Visually Impaired People and has a loop system
  • Centre for Independent Living provides services for people with disabilities and has a loop system

Are there disabled changing and toilet facilities?

  • CYP access the service in their home, community and school.
  • Bradbury Fields has disabled toilet facilities
  • Centre for Independent Living has disabled changing and toilet facilities

Do you have a changing places facility?

  • CYP access the service in their home, community and school.
  • The Centre for Independent Living has a changing places facility.

What support is there for a child with additional needs in general areas eg waiting rooms?

  • CYP access the service in their home, community and school.

How will my child or young person be able to access all of the activities of the service and how will you assist him or her to do so?

  • CYP access the service in their home, community and school.

8. What training and accreditation do the staff supporting children and young people with SEND have or are having?

This should include recent and future planned training and disability awareness. Are there any specialist staff?

  • The staff member in post holds a Graduate Diploma in: Specialist Qualification in Habilitation & Disabilities of Sight (Children and Young People).

Do any other services work closely with yours?

  • Henshaws Society For Blind People
  • The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
  • Alder Hey Eye Clinic
  • St. Helen’s Eye Clinic
  • St. Vincent’s School – A Specialist School for Sensory Impairment and Other Needs
  • Royal School for the Blind
  • Paediatric Occupational Therapist – Knowsley Council
  • Children with Disabilities Team – Knowsley Council
  • Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators (SENCO) based at individual schools – Knowsley Council

9. Who can I contact for further information?

  • Marie Messin (Senior Rehabilitation Officer – Visual Impairment) on 0151 244 4094

Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child/young person?

  • Marie Messin (Senior Rehabilitation Officer – Visual Impairment) on 0151 244 4094

Who else has a role in my child’s/young person support?

Who can I talk to if I am worried?

  • Marie Messin (Senior Rehabilitation Officer – Visual Impairment) on 0151 244 4094
  • Angela Harris (Habilitation Specialist) on 0151 244 4094

Who should I contact if I am considering whether child/young person would benefit from the service?

  • Marie Messin (Senior Rehabilitation Officer – Visual Impairment) on 0151 244 4094 

Following on from these nine questions, please summarise in bullet points what aspects of your service for YP with SEN you feel are particular strengths and what aspects you would like to see as a priority for development.

Areas of strength:

    • Bradbury Fields Services for Blind and Partially Sighted People has a well established history of working with Visually Impaired people.
    • Bradbury Fields works in partnerships with a range of organisations to create services tailored to each individual.
    • Good working relationship and communication with the Sensory Impairment Service – Education and other specialist Visual Impairment services.
    • Bradbury Fields Services for Blind and Partially Sighted People has over 14 years’ experience providing services to CYP with a Visual Impairment.
    • The service is CYP centred and provision is tailored to the needs of the individual CYP.

Areas for development:

    • Service is in the process of developing a local pathway for CYP with a Visual Impairment with other agencies in line with the National UK Vision Strategy.