Who receives this service?
Children and young people who have been assessed by a hospital's Ophthalmology Departments and have been diagnosed with vision loss.
The Service supports pupils aged between 0 and 19 years old (whilst in Education in a School). We support in:
- Early Years Settings
- Primary Schools
- Secondary Schools
- Special Schools
What does the Service offer?
The Visual Impairment Service works with parents, schools and other professionals to ensure that:
- Every child and young person is given equal opportunities
- Every child and young person receives the exact same education as their friends in local schools and communities
- Every child and young person develops the specialist skills that they require
- Every child and young person reaches his/her potential and develops to become an independent and confident learner.
- A tailored service is provided for children and young people of both Counties by following the national quality standards of NatSIP (National Sensory Impairment Partnership)
- Ensure that others understand what education, social and welfare inclusion of pupils aged with Visual Impairment means
- Work with the parents and schools to ensure that they understand referral arrangements to relevant agencies and services.
The Visual Impairment Service works with parents, organisations and Gwynedd and Anglesey schools to ensure that children and young people with Visual Impairment are given the opportunity to do everything on the Curriculum in order to reduce the impact of Visual Impairment on any academic progress and across every aspect of the pupils' lives.
In order to do this, as a service we have set the following objectives:
- Ensure that key staff in schools/early education organisations have the appropriate skills and resources when working with a pupil who has a Visual Impairment
- Offer a service that helps pupils with Visual Impairment aged between in homes, early years placements, primary schools, secondary schools and at special schools to ensure that they reach their full potential.
- Offers a range of appropriate support to meet individual needs, and the requirements of the 'National Sensory Impairment Partnership' (NatSIP).
- Present, directly teach and monitor the Specialist Curriculum (listening skills, independence skills, Braille, ICT, and emotional and social development) among Visual Impairment pupils, and ensure a firm development of the basic and required skills.
- Ensure that parents are a key part of any support offered
- Ensure that parents receive relevant training
- Work with external agencies (health/mobility officers/RNIB officers/social workers and voluntary organisations) to ensure a response on a different level to support the pupils
- Develop and strengthen the specialist skills of the Visual Impairment Team to maintain the required levels of expertise to support the severe and complex needs of the pupils.
- Ensure that relevant medical information about the child's Visual Impairment is shared (with the parents' consent)
- The criteria will be considered, in accordance with the Service's access criteria, by the ALN&I (Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion) Area Forum and service forum
- In some instances, the Forum will refer to the Cross-County Panel to consider the case. The effectiveness of the specialist strategies are measured and the progress of the individuals is reported back at the forum. Where there is no evidence of progress, the support is reviewed.
- The specialist support follows specific steps.
For specific individuals, Gwynedd and Anglesey ALN&I Service commissions the input of a Qualified Habilitation Specialist (QHS). The leaflet explains the following:
What is ‘Habilitation?
- Mobility, Orientation and Independent Living Skills (ILS)
- Why Habilitation?
- The Qualified Habilitation Specialist (QHS)
See the 'Resources' section at the end of the page to download the Habilitation information leaflet.
Who's in the team?
|Specialist Visual Impairment Teacher|
Llinos Vaughan Roberts
Heulwen Pierce Jones
Sara Llwyd Davies
|Visual Impairment Assistant Teacher|
Hanna Gwyn Williams
|Senior Specialist Visual Impairment Teaching Assistant|
How can the Service be accessed?
Referrals to the Service comes from the health service (Ophthalmology departments at hospitals), Opticians, RNIB, parents and social workers.
The referrals are discussed against the service's access criteria at ALN&I area forums.
What is the Educational Psychologist's role?
What is the Quality Officer's role?
What is the school's role?
Every school has a responsibility to create a safe and caring environment where it is possible for all pupils to develop happily and confidently. In order to ensure a friendly environment for learners with visual impairment, schools are expected to:
Ensure that any risks are targeted.
Ensure that the learning and social environment is inclusive and welcoming.
Respond on different levels to needs by considering any reasonable expert advice.
Measure the progress of children/young people who receive interventions to be able to demonstrate their effectiveness.
Use standard and directed assessments to see progress and determine the best appropriate support.
Ensure that any strategies/recommendations by the specialist service are included in every aspect of the pupil's school life.
Who else can help?
Ysbyty Gwynedd Ophthalmology Department - Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
North Wales Association for the Blind
Guide Dogs Cymru
Centre of Sign Sight Sound
Derwen, Integrated Team for Disabled Children (Gwynedd)
Specialist Children’s Services (Anglesey)
What can you do at home?
Working with families and ensuring parental cooperation is crucial for a successful relationship with any pupil.
Parents' relationship with the school
- Share information on the visual condition of your child with the school
- Keep in close contact with the school/the school's support team
- Follow programmes by the Specialist Visual Impairment Teachers
Parents' relationship with the Health Service
- Attend regular eye tests at Hospitals or by an Optician
- Contact the doctor if there is any change in your child's eye/behaviour/regular pattern
- Any instruction for your child to wear a patch should be adhered to.
- Learn everything you can about your child's visual impairment. The more you know, the more it will help you and then you can help your child.
- Create a support system to help you - create contacts with other visual impairment parents to share ideas
- Ensure that your child takes part in extra-curricular organisations or courses
Use Assistive Aids
- Encourage your child to use the assistive aids such as glasses or magnifiers given by the optician or the ophthalmology department.
- Give your child clear directions so that he/she learns about concepts such as big/small, to the left and to the right, far and close.
- Help your child examine new things with his/her senses. Give him/her plenty of opportunity to touch and examine objects, ask questions, and listen to explanations about these objects.
- Verbally describe the world around them (nature, animals, the seaside, etc.)
- Encourage your child to listen to sounds
Orienteering and Mobility
- Remind your child to face the person he/she is talking or listening to, and encourage him/her to express his/her feelings and needs in an appropriate manner.
- Ensure that your child has an opportunity to participate in tasks at home such as preparing a drink, cooking, getting dressed independently and keeping clean.