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Guide: Supporting children with visual and sensory impairment

Deafblind policy guidance

Local Authorities have statutory responsibilities towards assessing the needs of children and young people who have a combined sight and hearing impairment causing difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility. Children and young people do not need to be completely deaf and blind. As with other conditions multi-sensory impairment spans a continuum of need ranging from slight sensory impairment to severe/total dual sensory loss and to complex disabilities.

The local authority are required to provide specialist assessments, appropriate information and services designed to meet the needs of children and young people presenting with a combination of sight and hearing impairment.

Within Devon the ROVIC Service undertake these assessments for children and young people up to the age of 18 years old. You can read more about the Deafblind Policy guidance we follow here.

The Guidance in brief

The responsibilities are to:

  • identify, make contact with and keep a record of children and young people presenting with a combination of sight and hearing impairment in the Devon area (including those who have multi-sensory impairment/deafblindness)
  • ensure that when an assessment is required or requested, it is carried out by a specifically trained person or team, equipped to assess the needs of a child or young person with multi-sensory impairment in relation to their communication, access to information and mobility
  • ensure they are able to access specifically trained one-to-one support workers for those children and young people they assess as requiring one
  • ensure that appropriate services are provided to those children and young people identified with multi-sensory impairment or deafblind needs, who are not necessarily able to benefit from mainstream services or those services aimed primarily for visually impaired or deaf impairments
  • provide information about services in formats and through methods that are accessible to those with multi-sensory impaired/deafblindness
  • ensure that one member of senior management includes, within their responsibilities, overall responsibility for deafblind services.

Areas covered in the assessment include:

  • use of vision and hearing
  • use of other senses
  • orientation, mobility and impendence skills
  • communication and access to information
  • emotional, social and personal skills
  • health and medical needs
  • behaviour
  • educational needs
  • leisure needs

If you would like to discuss the deafblind policy guidance further please contact us.

Information and support is also available from Deafblind UK and SENSE.