Special education provision we expect

Visual impairment (VI) support guidance

The SEN Support provision we expect all schools and settings to offer for children and young people with a visual impairment.

Suggested whole-school approaches:

  • Have a supportive ethos and environment which promotes respect and values diversity
  • Curriculum teaching and learning to promote resilience and support social and emotional learning
  • Raise awareness by providing appropriate training for all staff
  • Curriculum promotes independence and social inclusion
  • Ensure shared spaces and corridors are clear and tidy to allow easier movement
  • Audit accessibility regularly (e.g. Do the edges of steps and stairs have good contrast?  Are pathways and edges clearly defined?)

Suggested SEND support strategies in the classroom:

  • As soon as concerns are identified, complete the checklist: Identifying Vision Impairment
  • Consider how the classroom is organised (e.g. Is the space clear and tidy to allow easier movement? Are frequently used resources kept in the same accessible place, and labelled? Is the level of lighting right for the child or young person? (CYP))
  • Use pre-teaching to prepare CYPs for lesson (e.g. explaining concepts that rely on vision for understanding)
  • Create a ‘one-page profile’ involving parents/carers and the CYP in identifying how best to support
  • Avoid CYP having to look directly into a light source – do not sit or stand with the light behind you
  • Provide individual copies of prompts and information on classroom walls (e.g. working walls, posters, key vocabulary lists)
  •  Allow extra time to complete tasks and be aware of the fatigue the CYP may experience because of the amount of extra effort they have to put in
  •  Use real/tactile experience to replace or supplement visual input and stimuli
  • Ensure CYP has an individual copy of print materials being read or written on the IWB. Ensure an appropriate format is used (e.g. large print, Braille)
  • Reduce need for extensive handwritten recording and ensure CYP has access to the most appropriate medium for recording their work
  • Raise position of text (e.g. use sloping desk, reading stands)
  • Check CYP is sitting in the most appropriate place
  • Use larger-lined paper, columns or boxes to place numbers in, /squared paper. Have CYP use dark pen instead of pencil
  • Explicitly teach and explore the meaning of any new vocabulary and concepts introduced
  • Use non-glossy, non-reflective paper and clear photocopies of masters (not of faint, blurred versions)
  • Adapt the format and content of homework tasks to maximise accessibility
  •  Ensure CYP consistently uses any learning aids or assistive technology supplied
  • Use clear, well-spaced print suitably contrasted with the background according to individual needs (for x, y colour on z background)
  • Be aware that facial expressions, hand gestures and body language may not be seen or may be indistinct. Give verbal information to replace or supplement
  • When alerting CYPs to an action, artefact, illustration or example don’t just point - describe what you want the CYPs to take notice of and if necessary, describe what it is
  • Include as many multi-sensory real-life learning experiences as possible
  • Monitor noise levels in the classroom carefully, as these have significant impact on concentration
  • Ensure learner has all the curriculum materials and equipment required and that these are organised and contained consistently and securely (e.g. non slip mat, a high sided tray or container with compartments)

Suggestions for the SENDCo:

  • For new concerns, talk to parents/carers about arranging a sight test
  • Access assessment, advice and recommendations from Virtual School for Sensory Support (VSSS)
  • Continue the cycle of support (assess, plan, do, review) while specialist advice is sought
  • Request training in the use of specialist equipment to support access to learning
  • Request bespoke training for staff in meeting the needs of specific learners
  • Liaise with the Teacher of the Visually Impaired about possible counselling support from VSSS
  • Monitor to ensure that reasonable adjustments are implemented consistently in class
  • Seek advice on specialist arrangements for examinations and assessments

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