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Habilitation for Vision Impaired students

What is Habilitation

The purpose of Habilitation is to maximise the attainment of mobility, orientation and independent living skills of children and young people with Vision Impairment. All Habilitation teaching and learning of skills, focuses on individual children and their family’s specific requirements at any time, from early years and throughout their education up to 25 years.

Virtual School Sensory Support intervention

Virtual School Sensory Support employ 2.4 Registered Qualified Habilitation specialists to deliver high quality independence programmes that are tailored to the children and young people with Vision Impairment needs.

Key areas supported during Habilitation

Mobility and orientation

Skills and techniques which enable a child or young person to explore, navigate, move and travel safely and as independently as possible.

  • Environmental Audits and Risk Assessment of education settings.
  • Early Years Activities – Encouraging Exploration and Movement Through Play
  • Body and Spatial Awareness
  • Pre-Cane and Protection Skills
  • Route Planning
  • Outdoor Travel Skills & Road Safety
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Long Cane Training (or suitable mobility aid)
  • Transition Training
  • Public Environments and Buildings
  • Shopping and Banking
  • Understanding and safely using Public Transport
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Knowledge and understanding of indoor and outdoor navigation aids

Independent living skills

Activity where a child or young person is required to carry out specific skills which are appropriate for their age and stage of their development.

Within all areas of Habilitation a wide range of skills and techniques can be taught using modified equipment, practices and aids. A bespoke learning programme is devised to meet each child or young person’s specific requirements.

  • Initial assessments of skills
  • Social interaction and confidence building
  • Health and Social Wellbeing
  • Hygiene and Self-Care Routines
  • Dressing
  • Mealtimes
  • Food and Drink Preparation
  • Planning and cooking meals and snacks
  • Money Recognition and Management
  • Shopping and Banking
  • Preparation for College placement or Work

Environmental audits and assessments

Where appropriate a comprehensive report is created for settings, highlighting areas of good practice and areas where physical improvements could be made to improve access for children and young people with Vision Impairment.


Habilitation support will be delivered within an environment which is appropriate to meet the needs of each child and young person.

This could be at:

  • home
  • education settings
  • outdoors
  • public spaces or public buildings
  • public transport


Time will be spent discussing progress and future planning with the young person, involving them as fully as possible in the decision making regarding their own tailored Habilitation package.

Appropriate programmes will be designed by the Habilitation professionals for children with multiple disabilities and Vision Impairment and additional needs. Programmes may include holistic intervention to support the individual need (i.e. Hoople use, wheelchair mobility programmes, scripted routes etc.) 

Teaching styles will be adapted to suit the needs of individual children and young people but sessions will always be pupil lead.

  • Short term SMART targets will be included in the programme
  • Interventions will be shared with the Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired, parents or carers and education setting support staff
  • Appropriate training will be provided to enable all those involved with the child or young person to support the programme, where appropriate this will include families, peers, and professionals

Social opportunities

Opportunities are made for students undergoing Habilitation training to meet other young people learning similar skills. This can occur through joint sessions in settings and public spaces, peer to peer meetings or school holiday and weekend activities.


The Habilitation Officer and Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired, in conjunction with the young person and family, identify when referral for habilitation is required.

Referrals from family, settings and other professionals can be made directly to Virtual School Sensory Support.


Initial assessment of the child or young person by Qualified Teacher of the Vision Impaired should include whether mobility provision is required.

An initial assessment by our Qualified Habilitation Specialist following referral should identify an intervention programme.

  • Children and young people have contributed their own views as part of any assessment and, when appropriate, support is offered to help them to do so.
  • Parents or carers will be invited to be involved in the assessment process and are encouraged and supported, if necessary, to make their contribution.
  • Assessment procedures have clear aims, offer well-structured explanations and are child/young person specific.
  • Assessment and monitoring are ongoing, taking place regularly to ensure the programme is appropriate and fit for purpose.
  • Assessment and monitoring occur in a variety of situations and is recorded and reviewed appropriately by Habilitation staff in consultation with other professionals and families.

Visit Habilitation VI UK for information and support for children and young people with Vision Impairment.

Habilitation Quality Standards

The outcome of Habilitation training is always for the child to achieve their full potential and become as independent as possible.

Outcomes specifically for children who have a Vision Impairment, as taken from the National Quality Standards (2011) include:

  • The maximum degree of independent living.
  • The maximum degree of independent travel and mobility.
  • Emotional well-being, including self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • The maximum degree of social inclusion.
  • Competence in the use of any specialist Habilitation tools including aids to support mobility and independence.
  • The ability to be able to assess risks and anticipate likely areas of personal difficulty in mobility and independent living

There are a range of delivery models including face-to-face as well as online support that can contribute to the development of independence skills for Vision Impaired children and young people.

All intervention is offered and delivered in line with the National Habilitation Quality Standards (2011).

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