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Specialist Teaching Services

Vision Support Service

What do we do?
How do I get my child's vision checked?
What is meant by Visual Impairment?
The Service we provide
Who should I speak to if my child has been diagnosed with visual impairment?
Referrals to the Vision Support Service
Partnership with Parents/Carers
Further support
Contact us

What do we do?
The Vision Support Service is part of the Specialist Teaching Services. We have clear aims set out that underpin the support services we provide  to children and young people who have a visual impairment. We also work with and support schools, early years settings, parents, carers, families and other professionals who are working with visually impaired children and young people.
How do I get my child's vision checked?
Regular eye tests will help to keep your child's eyes healthy and spot any problems such as long or short-sightedness, lazy eyes or squints.  As routine screening is no longer carried out in schools, if you have any concerns about your child's vision you should make an appointment with an optometrist/optician for a free NHS eyecheck.  This is free for all children under 16 and those young people under 19 in full-time education.  
If a problem is found that can be corrected with glasses, you will be given a prescription and an NHS form to complete for help towards the cost.  If there is a more serious problem which cannot be corrected with glasses, the optometrist may suggest you take your child to your GP or refer you to a consultant who specializes in eye health.
What is meant by Visual Impairment?
  • The term covers a number of conditions which can adversely affect near and distance vision and/or visual fields.
  • A child or young person with a visual impairment will suffer difficulties which cannot be improved by wearing glasses, contact lenses or having surgery or their vision may be blurred or distorted and the field of vision reduced even when glasses are prescribed.
  • A visual impairment will reduce the level of a child or young person's experiences by limiting his/her ability to gain information from the immediate environment including the home and school.
  • Some children are born blind or with partial sight, others may lose their sight partially or completely following an accident or illness
The service we provide
Experienced advisory teachers holding additional specialist qualifications in visual impairment provide:
  • Assessment of the functional vision of children and young people, who may have a visual impairment, their performance and abilities.
  • Interpretation of ophthalmic information and its educational implications for pupils, parents, schools and colleges, including effects on physical, cognitive, emotional, social and language development.
  • Direct teaching and non-teaching support for children in their homes, and/or educational establishments.
  • Specialised materials and recommend equipment and strategies to enhance the learning opportunities in homes, schools and colleges.
  • Specialist advice and training for parents, teachers and other professionals who work with visually impaired children and young people.
  • Advice to the Local Authority on the provision of specialist technology identified as necessary for curriculum access and communication
  • Where appropriate, tuition to develop touch typing/keyboarding skills to enable children and young people to record their work efficiently
  • Liaison with a rehabilitation officer to commission appropriate mobility, orientation and independent living skills programmes for individual children and young people.
  • Involvement in the Sight on Sound Parents Group to encourage a supportive network.
  • Advice to the Local Authority on all matters relating to visual impairment and assistance in performing its statutory obligations
Who should I speak to if my child has been diagnosed with visual impairment?
If your child has been diagnosed with a visual impairment and you would like to know more about getting extra help for her or him or are concerned about his/her progress, talk to your child's teacher or the school/setting's special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) or the head teacher.
Alternatively you can contact us.
If you would like to speak to someone who is independent and knows about special educational needs, you can get help from Parent Partnership Service
Referrals to the Vision Support Service
A referral is usually passed to the Vision Support Service through a recognised medical source i.e. Ophthalmologist, Paediatrician, school Doctor/Nurse, health visitor, GP, if:
  • It is known that a child or young person has a visual impairment
  • There is concern that a child or young person is experiencing difficulties which may be related to their use of vision.
Health professionals provide information on the individual child's visual difficulties and any other compounding factors. This enables us to give parents/carers, schools/settings, and other professionals involved with the child, appropriate advice on the implications of the condition.
The criteria applied when considering acceptance of referrals are:
  • that the child has or is suspected to have a visual impairment resulting in a significant near or distance visual acuity loss, a reduction of visual fields or other functional visual disabilities which affect or are likely to affect his/her general development educational performance and rate of progress.
Referrals are passed to our Service Manager, who allocates the child to a qualified teacher of the visually impaired in order that initial assessment may be undertaken.
On conclusion of the initial assessment stage, a report will be prepared by the specialist teacher. A copy of this report is forwarded to the young person's parents/carers, school/ setting and any other professionals involved.
Following initial assessment, the decision will be made as to whether further involvement by the Vision Support Service is appropriate.  Caseloads/pupil database will be amended accordingly. Where a pre-school child is found to have a significant visual impairment and may require statutory assessment, with parental approval the Psychology Service is informed and a copy of the initial report is forwarded to the service.
Partnership with Parents/Carers
  • It is recognised that parents/carers of children and young people with special educational needs arising from visual impairment face extraordinary pressures. Vision Support Service members aim to work with parents/carers and give them real opportunities to influence and contribute to their child's development and education.
  • Parents/carers have an expert knowledge of their child and an insight and understanding which should be valued. The teacher of the visually impaired seeks to establish a partnership which links the professional's advice with the parent or carer's knowledge of the child. The aim of the partnership is to help to reduce the effect of the child's visual difficulties on his/her development and education.
  • The specialist teacher of the visually impaired will take a family's cultural background and differences into account in order to provide sensitive support and guidance.
  • At the pre-school stage, the qualified teacher of the visually impaired will provide advice and resources which are relevant to the developmental needs of the child as part of a home-based programme where appropriate.
  • Copies of initial assessment reports, statutory advice and annual review reports will be sent to parents/carers who will have the opportunity to discuss these documents with the specialist teacher.
  • The teacher of the visually impaired supports the parents/carers in the full and comprehensive planning for school entry/transfer. Once a child is in full-time education, the teacher of the visually impaired will maintain links with parents/carers.
Further support
The Aims of the Vision Support Service
Vista
RNIB charity
Sense Charity
National Blind Childrens Society
NHS support search
Eyecare Trust
Contact us
If you would like to talk to the Vision Support Service, please contact;
Vision Support Service
Specialist Teaching Services
Room 600
County Hall
Leicester Road
Glenfield
Leics LE3 8RA
Office hours: 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m
Email: STS@leics.gov.uk
Telephone: 0116 305 9400
Fax: 0116 305 5184

Page Last Updated: 13 June 2014