Eligibility Criteria for your service and priority group
To enable a child or young person to access the service they must be diagnosed by a health professional as having a vision impairment.
Once diagnosis is made a referral to the Vision Support Service will be made by a health professional from the attending hospital.
The Service has an open referral system, families and education professionals can refer to the service but a child can only be seen if they have been diagnosed with a vision impairment.
Initial assessment will include
* Assessment of Functional vision, (including observation of the child in their environment) by a qualified teacher of children with a vision impairment.
* Referral for Habilitation Assessment by a qualified habilitation specialist where necessary.
* Information gathering from parents, child or young persosn, eduational setting and multi-agency professionals where appropriate.
* Children under school age and their parents will be invited to attend Little Sparklers Pre School Group. This is a weekly group which is run jointly between the Service and Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB).
* On completion of assessments a written report will be produced.
Once initial assessment is complete a support package will be allocated using the National Sensory Partnership Eligibility Criteria (Natsip) which uses a nationally agreed set of level descriptors that enable support to be allocated based on differing levels of vision impairment.
Once a support package is allocated parents will be infomed, and this support level is reviewed on an annual basis for each child and young person.
The support levels offered by the service are briefly outlined below:
Level 5 (Sheffield Support Grid level 5) - CYP would have a profound vision impairment and would need an individualised support plan, which would include at least 2 visits a week from a specialist teacher, additional weekly specialist teaching assistant support and regular habilitation training. All curriculum resources would need adaptation and modification into alternative format.
Level 4 (Sheffield Support Grid level 4) – CYP would have severe vison impairment and would need at least a weekly visit from a specialist teacher, with additional targeted intervention to include habilitation training and reformatted resources.
Level 3 ( Sheffield Support Grid level 3) – CYP would have a moderate vision impairment and would need half termly visit by a specialist teacher. Habilitation training would be given when appropriate.
Level 1/2 (Sheffield Support Grid level1/2) – CYP would have mild vision impairment and would need an annual visit by a specialist teacher to carry out a functional vision assessment, and advice for the school on inclusive practice.
In addition to the support packages some CYP may be offered time limited targeted intervention with specialist staff to include:
Training in use of specialist equipment
Support for sudden deterioration in vision.
The support offered by the service is allocated without the need for an Educationa Health Care Plan (EHCP) However support for children with additional and complex needs to include medical and/or social car needs are likely to have an EHCP.
For CYP with complex needs attending specialist provision support from the Service is allocated in a different way. A Qualified Teacher of Children with a Vision Impairment visits Special Schools on a weekly basis to offer consultancy support and training to school staff to enable them to incorporate teaching and learning strategies and targeted interventions that include children and young people with complex needs who have a vision impairment.
All teachers have a mandatory qualification for teaching children with a vision impairment
All staff are proficient in braille and specialist assistive technology such as braille notetaker, ipad, speech and maginification software.
All staff are involved in specialist training through in house CPD and Regional network CPD.
All staff have access to additional specialist training where necessary.
The Service work with a range of other professionals to ensure a holistic approach to children young people and their families. This would include health professionals, education psychology service, carreers service, voluntary agencies and social care colleaues.
Service staff keep in regular contact with families through phone calls, letters, visit reports and progress reports.
Parents/carers are contacted before initial assessment and invited to attend assessment. Post referral report sent to parents after assessment.
Progress of pre-school children is monitored with parents/carers using the developmental journal for babies and children with a vision impairment.
Parents /carers whose CYP are having regular input form the service receive termly progress reports with opportunity to provide feedback.
Photographic evidence is used regularly to demonstrate progress to parents.
Workshops for parents offered on a range of topics such as early mobility training, specialist ICT and braille reading.)
Parents are encouraged to attend intervention teaching sessions to encourage understanding and involvement in child’s learning.
Parents/carers are supported with activities and reformatted resources to use at home with their child