What do we do?
The Vision Support Team work with children and young people and their families to ensure they have access to everyday learning opportunities in a wide range of settings. This includes homes, nurseries, schools and colleges, alongside children and young people of a similar age. Individualised programmes, specialist teaching and support is given, appropriate to their need, as part of a graduated approach to ensure inclusion in the community and social and emotional wellbeing.
Early help assessments are initiated and supported by the team as appropriate.
We have an open referral system. The team accept referrals from parents / carers and professionals. After a child/young person is identified as having a visual impairment and parental consent is given, the Vision Support Team becomes involved.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have concerns or queries relating to visual impairment.
Contact us by email, letter or telephone, providing us with details of your concern, the child’s name, date of birth and contact details.
An initial visit will be made by a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired. Following a visual assessment, and using national criteria for involvement, we will then inform you of our next step.
In many cases, some basic recommendations are all that is required to ensure the child or young person has continued access to learning. Others may require specialist approaches towards teaching and learning, and will need on-going support with specialist programmes and monitoring visits.
Support in the home can be provided for pre-school children and their families. We delivery specialist programmes by qualified and experienced staff and we offer training for parents, siblings and other family members as appropriate.
We hold monthly support groups for parents and arrange social activities for families.
We provide Functional Visual Assessments and information regarding visual conditions and their implications for learning. We make basic recommendations regarding visual management to ensure effective and on-going access to learning for the children and young people.
We make recommendations regarding purchasing and the use of specialist equipment and we can offer advice regarding the modification of work and access to examinations.
We deliver specialist teaching sessions; including Tactile Literacy, ICT and Habilitation. We undertake Access Audits and offer support from Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Specialist Support Workers and Qualified Habilitation Specialists, as deemed appropriate by ourselves.
We provide habilitation assessment training, guidance and support to children and young people (0-25) with visual impairments.
Habilitation refers to the teaching of Mobility and Orientation and Independent Living Skills. The training aims to develop skills, knowledge and attitude for safer travelling and encourage greater independence for a child or young person with a visual impairment.
Visual impairments vary and the impact it may have on a child or young person accessing their physical environment will also vary. Therefore, the habilitation programme and training is developed in consultation with the child or young person and all persons who may be involved with their support, to ensure the best outcomes are achieved.
Vision impairment ranges from blindness or very low vision to an inability to see particular colours.
Some babies might have vision impairment at birth. It can also happen later as a result of injury or a medical condition.
Severe vision loss or blindness can affect your child’s development and learning. Early intervention can help your child reach their potential.
What should parents look out for?
Children who have vision impairment might have normal looking eyes. Often, it will be something in a child’s behaviour or the way they use their eyes that makes you think there might be a problem with the way they see.
What to look for in babies
Most babies start to focus on faces and objects by 4-5 weeks of age. By about 6-8 weeks, most babies will start smiling at the familiar faces and things they see. But if a baby has a vision impairment, they might not do this.
Babies older than 3 months should be able to follow or “track” an object, like a toy or ball, with their eyes as it moves across their field of vision. If your baby can’t make steady eye contact by this time or seems unable to see, let your doctor know.
Before 4 months most babies’ eyes occasionally look misaligned (known as strabismus). However, after 4 months of age inward crossing or outward drifting that occurs regularly is usually abnormal. If you notice this, let your doctor know.
Signs that a baby older than 4 months might have a vision problem are:
- eyes moving quickly from side to side (known as nystagmus) jerking or wandering randomly
- eyes not following your face or an object, or making eye contact with family or friends
- eyes not reacting to a bright light being turned on in a room
- pupils appearing white or cloudy rather than black
- eyes not appearing straight but turning towards the nose or drifting outwards
What to look for in toddlers
Vision problems such as a “lazy eye” or “squint” (known as amblyopia) may have no warning signs, and your child may not complain of vision problems. For this reason it is important to have your child’s vision checked.
Other indicators in toddlers might be:
- holding things close to their face
- complaining of tiredness
- frequent rubbing of the eyes
- turning or tilting the head or covering one eye when viewing an object up close
- getting tired after looking at things up close – eg reading, drawing, playing hand-held games
- seeming to see better during the day than at night
- seeming to have crossed or turned eyes or a squint (lazy eye)
- seeming clumsy – for example, knocking things over or tripping often.
What to look for in all children
If you notice any of the following let your doctor know immediately:
- eyes that are misaligned (look crossed, turn out, or don’t focus together)
- white or greyish-white colour in the pupil
- eyes that flutter quickly from side to side or up and down
- bulging eye(s)
- complaining of eye pain, itchiness, or discomfort
- redness in either eye that doesn’t go away in a few days
- discharge in either eye
- eyes that are always watery
- drooping eyelid(s)
- frequently screwing eyes up
- constant sensitivity to light
- any change in the eyes from how they usually look
Getting a diagnosis is the first step to the right support.
If you’re worried about your child’s vision, you need to get their eyes checked.
Your GP can send you to a children’s eye specialist (ophthalmologist). They will do tests to find out what the problem is.
Vision Support Team
Brumby Learning Centre
Grange Lane North
Tel: 01724 407988
Monday – Friday, approx 9am to 5pm, during school term time only.