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Guide: Supporting children with visual and sensory impairment

How we can help

We can help and support you and your child in the following ways:

Advice, assessment and skills training

We provide advice, information, assessment and training throughout the year. Your child may be offered support and training after an assessment has been completed. This may include learning or the re-learning of life skills.

We may also offer awareness and skills training to those supporting your child.

We deliver our services (training, advice and support) where they are most needed. This can be at home, in an educational or club setting and the wider community.

The combination of help and support families can receive will depend upon their needs. The list below gives some examples of the kinds of training we provide and the reasons why:

  • Understanding spatial concepts – such as in front, behind, above, below (orientation).
  • Understanding proprioception, which means for one’s body to sense its position, movement and actions in relation to its surroundings – for example, holding your hand next to your right ear.
  • Learning and feeling confident using ‘sighted guide’ techniques (important for both guider and those being guided).
  • Using a long cane or symbol cane (independence).
  • Learning routes – this means teaching the young person the skills to find their way, for example, to school or shops and return home as independently as possible. This can be on foot or by public transport.
  • Learning to walk in pedestrian areas and cross roads safely.
  • Using public transport (independence).
  • Using technology (independence).
  • Managing independent life skills including shopping and cooking.

Please remember you can always contact us to discuss any of the above if you have any questions or queries.

tactile soft toy caterpillar who greets children and lets them know when session has finished
Charlie Caterpillar

Early years

We run an outreach session called the SENSE-ory Play group for parents, carers and under 5’s. This group is for young children with a dual sensory (vision and hearing) or visual impairment.

The venue is in Exeter but open to all Devon families. Contact us if you would like further information about this group. Why not come along and meet Charlie Caterpillar.

Information and support for babies born premature or sick can be found here at Bliss

The Wonderbaby website was founded by Amber Bobnar who describes Wonderbaby as being “dedicated to helping parents of young children with visual impairments as well as children with multiple disabilities”.

Free home safety checks

The ROVIC Service work in partnership with the Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. We can arrange a home safety visit on your behalf. See our contact us page for details of how to get in touch.

You can also make direct contact by telephone on 0800 05 02 999 or for further information please look at the Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service website.

A needs assessment

All children and young people with disabilities under 18 years old, who live within the Devon Local Authority boundaries and who have a disability can ask for an assessment of all their needs.

The purpose of a needs assessment (Care Act 2014) is to identify:

  • what needs the child or young person may have
  • what can be done so that their wellbeing is maintained or improved.
  • the needs and wellbeing of siblings, young carers, parents and carers are also taken into account

The outcome of this assessment will identify the individual’s needs so that the local authority can provide an appropriate response, at the right time to meet the level of the young person’s needs. This might range from offering guidance and information to arranging for services, including direct payments (a personal budget) to meet those needs.

The Disabled Children’s Service can undertake a needs assessment. Find out more about accessing support from the Disabled Children’s Service.

Education, health and care (EHC) plans

We can provide contributions towards EHC plans. Early years and educational settings can contact the Single Point of Access (SPA) to ask the ROVIC Service to provide information about your child’s sensory impairment and needs. Find out more about EHC plans.