Special educational needs (SEN) advisory service
Vision impairment team
The vision team provides specialist teaching and support for children and young people with a vision impairment from birth to 19 years.
All teachers in the vision team have a wide experience of working in mainstream and special schools, and early years settings. They all have the mandatory specialist teaching qualification for children with a vision impairment.
Support and advice is given to children and young people and their families from the time a vision impairment is diagnosed or there is a concern about a child’s vision.
The team works closely with schools, settings, and families to ensure that children and young people with vision impairment are included socially, emotionally and educationally, enabling them to succeed in line with their sighted peers.
The team has good working links and pathways of communication with local and London hospitals.
What does the service provide? (What we do/how we work)
Pre-school and early years
Support and advice is given to families and early years settings. Children under five are visited at home or at pre-school. Examples of what is offered include:
- When a child is first referred due to concerns about their vision, a specialist teacher visits and works with the family at home or in our specially equipped sensory room.
- Explanation of the diagnosis of an eye condition.
- Advice on play experiences and resources to optimise the development of vision.
- Regular sensory sessions in our sensory room at Griffins to promote the development of vision.
- Baby and toddler groups to help parents meet other families with similar vision impairments.
- Information given about other agencies and support groups.
- Support with DLA claims.
- Support for ophthalmology appointments.
- Working in partnership through the early years with other professionals e.g. portage and health therapist.
- Use of specialist assessment and monitoring tools.
- Contributing to education, health and care plan assessments and reviews.
- Advice on school entry and phase transfer.
School age support
School aged children and young people are visited at school. Examples of what can be provided include:
- Information and general/educational advice given to staff on the impact of vision impairment.
- Advice and support for the implementation of strategies to enable optimum access to learning.
- Guidance on print size and suitable fonts.
- Modification of materials and training for schools to enable them to produce their own resources.
- Large print, tactile and braille resources provided for individual pupils.
- Individual or whole school staff training.
- Functional vision assessments of individual pupils.
- Advice on modified papers and extra time allowances for exams and assessments.
- Specialist teaching of braille, touch typing and the use of access technology for schools and families.
- Specialist classroom support for individual pupils.
- Seeking the views of the child or young person and encouraging them to be an advocate for their vision impairment.
- Teaching young people to apply their own strategies to enable access to learning.
- Encouraging independence and positive self-esteem.
- Social events organised by the Vision Team to encourage friendships and to provide an opportunity for parents to meet each other.
- Advice about appropriate additional equipment.
- Encouraging optimum use of low vision aids, for example magnifiers.
- Attend hospital clinics and appointments with families.
- Annual reports written for education, health and care plan reviews.
Habilitation training, from a qualified paediatric habilitation specialist is offered as appropriate on an individual basis. Training involves learning skills to enable independent movement from an early age, progressing to independent and confident travel for older teenagers. This may include the teaching of long cane skills. Training is provided in families’ homes, pre-schools, schools and the local environment depending on the needs and age of the child or young person.
To receive support from the vision team, the child or young person must be a Bromley resident or attend a pre-school or school in Bromley.
The National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP) criteria are used to determine the level of involvement with the child or young person. Depending on assessed need, involvement can range from visits to home or school twice a week to one annual visit.
How do I access the service?
Referrals are accepted from anyone concerned about a child or young person’s vision e.g. families, schools, health visitors, hospitals, therapists etc. In addition a medical opinion should be sought in the first instance through the family GP or local optometrist. Parental permission is obtained prior to any involvement by the vision team.