Inclusion Services

Sensory - Visual Impairment

General Information about Visual Impairment

The Specialist Teacher (QTVI) works with children and young people of all ages from babies until they finish schooling. The service works in partnership with health professionals, Habilitation , Health professionals and Social Care. The Specialist Visual Impairment Teacher’s role includes:

  • Monitor and support Pupils, Parent and the Educational Setting with raising awareness of the visual impairment and assess their visual need.
  • Provide extra support for individual pupils and pre-school children, including Braille and specialist keyboard skills.
  • Provide training to schools to help them understand the needs of vision impaired pupils.
  • Provide schools with awareness training, subject specific training, specialist equipment training including the use of materials such as stationary, screen reading, magnification software, low vision aids and braille devices.
  • Provide VI – specific transition support and training where and when needed.
  • Support and give advice to parents/guardians.
  • Promoting and delivering training on emotional wellbeing and social and communication skills.
  • Supporting students through transition into post 16/FE provision and into independent adulthood.
  • Empower and support pupil with a visual impairment to develop self-confidence and self- esteem.
  • Teaching specialist skills, for example Braille, the use of specialist equipment and ICT, and independent living and learning skills.
  • Adapting and modifying teaching and learning resources in print, audio or tactile formats and training setting based staff to do this
  • Advising school staff on access arrangements for exams.
  • Support pupils to reach their potential regardless of their visual impairment.

Here is a factsheet produced by the RNIB outlining the role of a QTVI:

Role of a Specialist Visual Impairment Teacher - QTVI 

In an ever inclusive society, the Visual Impairment Teacher’s role is to ensure that choice is offered to children, young people and parents/carers of children and Young People with a Visual Impairment. Expertise and resources are available to pupils, parent/guardians and schools to enable full inclusive access to learning. Independent living and mobility skills are accesses when needed by UK Guide Dogs Habilitation specialists. Collaborative working is established to support and meet all needs.

How do I get support from a QTVI/Specialist Teacher for VI? 

The pathway to access support from a QTVI usually begins by a direct health referral from the Ophthalmologist, the Eye Clinic or Health Visitor. The child can be certified Sight Impaired or Severely Sight Impaired. Once the QTVI has the child’s details, the QTVI will begin direct contact by phone, post or email to assess and support your child. If your child is only under optician, it is unlikely that QTVI support is needed as your child’s vision has been corrected by prescribed spectacles. A referral to a QTVI is needed when your child has a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by prescribed spectacles. 

Low Vision Assessment

If your child is certified sight impaired or severely sight impaired, they qualify for a Low Vision Assessment. This can only be done by an accredited optician.

Visual Impairment information and resources

Literacy and VI

Accessing Reading and Writing with a Visual Impairment

Children and Young People are assessed by the QTVI from a very young age to ensure that they access the correct medium to read and write. If a child has low vision, then the font style, size and colour will be important for their access. If the child is severely sight impaired, then an alternative curriculum including a tactile/braille curriculum may be implemented.

A website which offer ideas and tips for children of all ages is Paths to Literacy.

They have Braille Literacy, Braille Lessons and Braille Art programmes and resources for teachers and support assistants.

Living Paintings

A free postal Library of Touch to see books for all school ages.

RNIB Bookshare

A FREE book share website which provides free, accessible e-books and resources for learners with a vision impairment. 

Accessible Library

Another free online library for people with a vision impairment.

Llyfrau Llafar Cymru

An organisation who produce Welsh and English medium talking books for people with a vision impairment. 

CustomEyes Books

A wide range of large print books to purchase for students with a vision impairment.

Gwasg Gomer

A huge selection of Welsh medium and English e-books to buy.

Oxford Reading Tree

A selection of free Welsh reading books for children from the Oxford Reading Tree series

Numeracy and VI

Accessing Maths with a Visual Impairment

Numeracy for a child with a visual impairment should be “hand-on” and tactile in nature. The concept/theme will need to be supported by an item that helps them understand the equation. Using Numicon, counters and even blocks will all enable access. Here are a few links to help you at home and school:

Tips to teach maths to a pupil with VI

A basic guide to help educators and families with numeracy in setting or at home

Maths Investigation Box

Early Numeracy Concept box of resources to support children with a VI

Braille and Numeracy

Resource list of items to make numeracy tactile and accessible for pupils

56 Tactile Maths concepts to support children with VI

A wonderful blog entry with everyday ideas for parents and schools to develop tactile numeracy concepts

Visual Impairment at Early Years 

(Pre-school and nursery school age learning support)

At Early Years, it is important to support the development of a child’s tactile awareness and basic visual skills through the concept of positive looking skills. The type of learning and playing becomes important and specific to your child’s ability to explore the environment around them. Once a child is referred to the Specialist VI Teacher, your child is assessed and individual tailor-made strategies are implemented to develop their basic visual skills. Here are a few links to help parents and settings:

Children and Braille - information for parents/guardians

Adapting Images for early readers - a guide to adapt lesson resources to be visually accessible at Early Years

The Marvin Story Time Show - VI Friendly Story time for pupils with Low Vision

 

Supporting pupils with VI and Additional & Complex Learning Needs

Below are a few links to help pupils with additional & complex needs with a VI to engage and practice their basic visual skills:

Sensory Bucket Time

Positive Looking Story Buckets to encourage basic visual skills through story time, literacy and numeracy strategies for visual impairment

Active Learning Space​​

Suggestions about how to create active learning spaces for children. 

CVI Scotland​​

Information on supporting language development for those with Cerebral Vision Impairment and Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities.​

CVI Society

Information on using colour tents to increase visual awareness and engagement​ for children with Cerebral Vision Impairment and Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. 

Little Bear Sees – Website designated for children with CVI

 

Accessible Technology

Technology is increasingly becoming accessible for children with low vision / certified sight impaired. If a child is severely sight impaired, then specialist magnification, tactile or braille devices may be needed. The technology and supporting programmes often include touch typing.

Below are links to information of ways to access technology if your child has low vision:

iPad- Using Voiceover settings

Technology advice and resources for students with a vision impairment.

Microsoft Windows 10

Useful information on how to set up accessibility options in Windows 10.

Microsoft Windows shortcuts

Information on using keyboard shortcuts in Windows.

Touch typing

Opportunities for students to learn touch typing skills (lesson by lesson format)

BBC Dance mat

Touch typing for Low Vision (basic)

Humanware

Humanware is a global company who seek to provide assistive technology for those individuals who have a vision impairment.  

Accessibile APPs for mobile phone and tablets like iPads

Accessibility is imperative to develop independent skills for a pupil/child with a VI. Here is a link to the top inclusive and accessible apps now available:

APPS for VI 

Other Useful Websites

There are many charities and organisations available who support children and young people with a vision impairment:

RNIB - Royal National Institute of Blind People

A UK based charity offering information, support and advice for people with a vision impairment. They also offer an Assistive Technology Grant where families can apply for devices to use at home.

Guide Dogs

A British charitable organisation that helps blind and partially sighted people through the Habilitation Services, Mobility, Orientation, Life Skills and applying for a Guide Dog.

LOOK UK

A charity which offers mentoring, transformational events, parent support groups and youth forums, to support young people with a vision impairment. 

Positive Eye

This is a Visual Impairment specialist training company that deliver courses and provide resources to support children and young people with a vision impairment. 

UCAN

UCAN is a performance and creative arts co-operative for blind and partially sighted children, young people

Victa Parent Portal​​

An information hub for parents and carers raising a child with a vision impairment.

Living with a Visual Impairment or Blind in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire Blind Society – a local charity supporting families with members diagnosed with VI

Access Pembrokeshire - An information service for individuals living with disabilities in Pembrokeshire

Support if you have sight problems – link to support organisations and services in Pembrokeshire

Visual Impairment in the news

Lego Braille - provided to pupils accessing their education through braille 

Sight Loss Services in Wales

RNIB

Sight Cymru 

Wales Council for the blind 

ID: 7906, revised 14/10/2021