Vision support

What is a vision impairment?

There are a wide range of vision impairments. They range from severe sight impairment (blind) to sight impairment (partially sighted).

A visual impairment:

  • is diagnosed by an Ophthalmologist
  • will affect each individual differently
  • can affect near vision, distance vision or visual fields
  • can range from severe sight impairment (SSI) to sight impairment (SI)

The implications of vision loss are different for everyone.

A wide range of strategies may be needed to enable our children and young people to have equal access to the educational and broader curriculum.

Information about specific vision impairments is available at:

About the team

Who we are

We are a specialist team comprising of;

  • Advisory Teachers of the Vision Impaired
  • Qualified Paediatric Habilitation Specialists
  • Sensory Support Service teaching assistants

All teachers are excellent classroom practitioners who have: 

  • At least two years teaching experience before they join us.
  • A mandatory qualification in teaching learners with vision impairment, or the qualification is undertaken with us. 
  • Mentors when they are new to the team.

They work with a wide range of children and young people who have varying levels of vision impairment.

All staff in the Sensory Support Service update their skills regularly.  There is a varied programme of Continued Professional Development (CPD) in place.

We work with

  • children and young people (0-25 years) with a diagnosed visual impairment
  • their families
  • settings, schools (mainstream and specialist) and post 16 providers
  • other professionals 

We provide support by

  • giving support and advice to families and settings/schools following diagnosis
  • providing specialist teaching for some learners (for example, Braille and Assistive Technology)
  • providing habilitation training for identified learners
  • carrying out functional visual assessments followed by written reports and advice
  • providing general advice about visual impairment and monitoring for learners
  • providing advice about specialist adaptations to learning materials
  • providing advice about the school/setting environment in line with the Equality Act
  • providing advice about specialist equipment
  • training staff who work with settings. Information is on School Messenger and is booked through Cornwall Learning Online
  • providing statutory advice for EHCP Needs Assessments and EHCP reviews
  • supporting transition between phases and stages of education
  • working in liaison with a wide range of professionals

Levels of support are determined and regularly reviewed.  This is done using the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP) criteria.

Making a request for involvement

Schools and settings can make a request for involvement using a 'Request for Involvement form'.  They must also provide parent/carer consent. The eligibility criteria for each service is listed on each of these forms.  Medical information is always obtained.

Medical information is used alongside a functional vision assessment (where relevant). A standardised set of criteria is used to determine the level of support given.  This is the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP) criteria. Levels of support are regularly reviewed taking into account an individual child/young person’s needs.

Useful links

About Cerebral Visual Impairment

About Family Support

About producing accessible resources

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