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The Service for the Sensory Impaired (Visually impaired)

1. What does your service do?

  • What are the typical activities you provide?

  • Do any other services work closely with yours?

Visual Impairment Service Leaflet

The Service for the Sensory Impaired (Visually impaired) offers support for partially sighted and educationally blind children and young people living in Knowsley. We are aware that the needs of every visually impaired child are different, and the support we offer is tailor made to each child according to need. We offer a range of support and advice which includes the following:

  • Home visits to pre-school children offering visual stimulation in accordance to their functional vision. This specific work is carried or by a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired or by one of our Specialist Sensory Support Assistants.

  • The Service also supports families in developing an understanding of visual impairment and how to help their child acquire the full range of early learning skills.

  • In addition, the service supports families with managing their child's visual impairment

  • Use of a Developmental Journal is often appropriate at this stage and will be followed as a matter of routine which enables families and staff to work together supporting the needs of the whole child.

  • We continue to support the child/ young person in a range of educational settings including private nurseries, school nurseries, special schools, mainstream schools at Primary and Secondary Levels.

  • We can provide modifications and adaptations to the curriculum where necessary, which includes modified large print materials, braille and tactile resources.

  • Specific braille programmes planned and differentiated for our educationally blind children and young people are provided. This includes pre-braille skills and the Unified English Braille code both uncontracted and contracted.

  • We provide advice to schools regarding access arrangements for external examinations.

  • All our children upon initial referral are assessed, and a Functional Vision Assessment is carried out by the QTVI and distributed accordingly. An assessment such as this enables the school to design a suitable environment with appropriate teaching and learning styles to ensure that every child/ student with a Visual Impairment has the very best access to learning. This type of assessment can help to record visual performance – what the child/ young person sees, how they see and use their vision, under what conditions they can use their vision effectively and it can also help and encourage effective planning by teaching staff.

  • A low Vision Device Assessment can also offered to our children if deemed appropriate.

  • Touch Typing tuition is available for those children to whom it is appropriate.

We work closely with other Services and Professionals including:
Consultant Ophthalmologists, Opticians, Teachers, Speech Therapists, Educational Psychologists, Mobility Officers, (see Occupational Health, Specialist Teachers of the Deaf, Social Workers and also with other professionals working within the NHS. The Service also liaises closely with staff from a local ‘specialist school setting’ and vice versa. 

2.What types of need and age ranges do you cover?

The V.I Service supports children and young people from 0 – 19 years although we can be involved up to 25 years in some cases working alongside other colleagues.

We support those children and young people who have a discreet visual impairment and those children /young people who have visual impairment and additional and complex needs. 

3. Do you use eligibility criteria to use your service?  If so, what?

We provide support and advice to children and young people who have a diagnosed visual impairment. This information is provided by the Consultant Ophthalmologist.

We also provide advice and support to any child who has a registration of sight or severely sight impaired. Any child or young person who is showing cause for concern by school will also be given initial advice whilst the child is undergoing further investigations.  Access to monitoring, teaching and support, whichever is assessed as appropriate is done so by using our specialist assessment criteria. This is provided to all of our visually impaired youngsters and this eligibility criteria is based on the National Sensory Impaired Partnership (NatSIP) eligibility criteria.  

4. How can people access your service – direct contact or by referral only?

  • Are your premises wheel-chair accessible?

Referrals usually come through the Ophthalmologist from the hospital, the Service will then contact schools or the appropriate setting following the diagnosis of each child. There is also an open referral service available for any other health professional, schools and preschool settings. Referrals can be made initially by telephone, supported by a referral form. However, the usual practice is by written referral from any of these professionals or settings. Before any involvement with any of our children or young people by the Service, parental consent is sought for all future involvement going forward. The Sensory Support Service is based at Southmead Children's Centre - Prescot. It is a location that is accessible by all.

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

  • E.g. Can a personal budget be used for payment if required?

The Sensory Service is a centrally funded education service within Knowsley MBC.

We do not charge for the service that we provide when the child or young person of 0 – 16 years attends an educational setting within Knowsley. 

6. How do you communicate with people about your service?

  • E.g. Are children, young people, families/carers involved in decision making/ planning? How are your views sought?

  • How do you keep families/ carers informed of their child’s progress?

  • Do you offer any parent training or learning events?

  • What leaflets do you have?

Parents and children have every opportunity to provide their views – at review meetings, CAF meetings, during home visits and directly to us at the office via telephone or email. Once a year, all parents are sent a questionnaire which allows parental feed back on the service offered to their child.

All visits made by the Service are logged and documented in each child’s file. This includes the date and time of the visit, a record of what was observed, completed and discussed during the visit, and any further action required. This documentation is available to parents and staff working with the child or young person. Knowsley Sensory Impairment Service Privacy Notice.

A child’s progress is given on a 6 weekly basis at CAF meetings and annually at review meetings. Interim meetings are often called so that progress can be monitored in greater depth.

Information regarding the child or young person’s visual impairment is detailed in the Functional Vison Assessment and each area of the assessment is detailed so parents/ carers have a full understanding of how the outcomes have been achieved and concluded.

Visual Impairment Service Leaflet

7. Have staff been trained to support children and young people with SEND?

  • Are there any specialist staff?

  • Are staff members DBS checked?

The specialist team includes teaching and non-teaching support staff who have additional specialist qualifications.

The Service has qualified teachers of the visually impaired (QTVI) who hold the mandatory qualification required to teach blind and partially sighted children. The Service also employs specialist support assistants, all of whom have considerable experience working across all ages and abilities of children/young people with visual impairments and many hold additional specialist qualifications including braille.

The Service employs a dedicated a reprographics specialist.

Staff are encouraged to update their CPD profiles on a regular basis

All members of staff are DBS checked regularly

8.  Please provide contact details, address, email, Social Network details & website

c/o Southmead Childrens Centre
Sherwood Drive
Off Lickers lane
L35 3XZ

Tel: 0151 443 2057