Teachers and education specialists
Many blind and partially sighted children go to mainstream schools. With the help of education professionals you can make sure your child gets the right support.
You may feel your child will be better supported at a more specialist school, particularly if your child has additional or complex needs.Whilst education professionals can provide information about the options available, this choice is one for you to make with your family.
Read below to see how different how different education specialists can help your child.
Your council’s Sensory Support Service
Contact your council and ask them to refer you to the Sensory Support Service. This is sometimes known as the Special Education Sensory Support Service.
The service offers specialist support to children and young people with sensory impairments. This includes help and advice about their development and quality of life. Some services have groups where you can meet other parents with sensory impaired children.
They should refer you to a Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired (QTVI) as soon as possible. Your council must by law offer you the support of a QTVI.
Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired (QTVI)
A QTVI can help with your child’s learning and development. They can help your child:
- use vision aids or braille
- learn how to type
They can support your child from their diagnosis until they leave school. Your child may be referred to a QTVI by your local authority when you register your child as sight impaired or severely sight impaired or by their school.
They can also help your family:
- work out how your child uses vision
- decide if your child should learn braille
- choose a nursery, school or playgroup
- to make sure that your child has the right support at school
The QTVI usually works with the school to make sure your child:
- can join in the same activities as other children
- has their needs met
- has the right learning environment
- makes progress
They also help staff and pupils at the school understand vision impairment.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCO)
The SENDCO makes sure your vision impaired child gets the right support in school. Every school must employ a SENDCO. There is also a SEND team within each local authority.
The SENDCO works with staff dealing with your child to make sure they:
- can communicate
- can learn
- have enough time to respond or perform tasks
They are qualified teachers and usually have additional qualifications.
When your child starts school you should be introduced to the SENDCO. You can meet with them to discuss the support that your child is receiving in school.
Inclusion Managers make sure that all children in the school have the same opportunities regardless of their needs or background. These factors may include:
- special educations needs or disabilities
- medical conditions
- low income
Early Years Professional (EYP)
EYPs are qualified to work with children aged 0-5. They usually work in nurseries and preschools, but may also visit you in the home. They may not have specialised knowledge around vision impairment. They make sure children get the right education to learn and progress.
These may include Early Years Support teams, Children’s Centres and Portage workers.
Your child may work with a teaching assistant to help with their learning. They're sometimes called learning support assistants.
The teaching assistant will help your child learn the same material as the rest of the class. They usually:
- help in lessons
- make sure your child understands
- provide the right adapted materials, like large print or braille booklets
- help with equipment, like computers and special software
RSBC’s Family Support Service can help you with:
- practical advice about your child’s development
- support when you feel overwhelmed
- understanding your child’s vision impairment better
- living as a family and being supportive of each other
Call 0203 1980225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: October 2017