Educational support for children with a visual impairment

The visual impairment team provides specialist teaching and support for children and young people who have a significant visual impairment (VI). All our teachers have wide experience of mainstream and special schools and early years settings, and all have the mandatory specialist teaching qualification for children with visual impairment. We can also provide mobility and independence training by a qualified rehabilitation officer.

How to access the service

Children are usually referred to us by the hospital eye unit, but occasionally schools or other professionals may need to make a referral. Download our referral form or contact us for an initial discussion:

Please note if a visual impairment is suspected, assessment or information should be sought initially from the appropriate NHS Trust.

Who we work with

We aim to promote inclusion and the achievement of the best possible educational and other outcomes, including preparation for adulthood.

We work with:

  • Families of newly diagnosed babies and children (including close liaison with Portage workers and Health Visitors)
  • Early years settings
  • Mainstream schools
  • Severe learning difficulties (SLD) special schools - we offer a package of support and training to promote better outcomes for pupils with complex needs including visual impairments
  • Colleges of Further Education (see below for service charges)

Whether we charge for the service

All our core and statutory work is provided free of charge to early years settings, state-funded schools and colleges of further education.

The services we provide

We offer specialist advice and teaching relating to:

  • Adaptation of educational materials (Equality Act planning duty):
    • Braille, large print, tactile diagrams
    • Free membership of the Load2Learn library - electronic books and resources
  • Mobility and independent living skills (habilitation) - our team includes a specialist qualified mobility officer for one day a week under contract from Herefordshire Vision Links (HVL):
    • Specialist assessment and training in mobility, independent travel and daily living skills
    • Provision of related equipment, for example long canes, liquid level indicator, talking scales
    • Registration as sight impaired
  • Specialist technology: (Equality Act auxiliary aids duty) - as far as possible we encourage the use of everyday mainstream technology which pupils are likely to encounter in the outside world:
    • Accessibility and ease of access facilities built into modern computers and tablets including iPad (voiceover, dictation, magnifier and specialist apps)
    • Touch typing
    • Screen reading and magnification software
    • Access to interactive whiteboards
    • Hand-held and/or desk-top magnifiers
    • Braille writers and embossers
    • Tactile diagram production
    • Speech enabled equipment (thermometer, scales, calculator)
    • Short-term trial loans, for example writing slopes, reading stands, handheld magnifiers
  • Advice on special arrangements for internal and external examinations and assessments
  • Contribution to statutory assessment, annual reviews and individual programmes of work regarding the identification of outcomes and the provision required to achieve them
  • Advice on adaptations to buildings (Equality Act planning duty)