If your child is visually impaired, they’ll be many professionals who are there to provide support in health, at the home and throughout education. This is a guide to inform you of who you may meet and their role in your child’s life.
GP or Family Doctor
Qualified Teacher for the Visually Impaired (QTVI)
Early Support Keyworker
Special Educational Needs Coordinator
Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapists
GP or Family Doctor
Your family doctor (also known as a GP or General Practitioner) is associated with the general health of your child and can advise and arrange further examinations, they will often make referrals on your behalf and should be the first port of call if you have any concerns about your child’s sight.
The pediatrician is a doctor who specialises in child health. They are usually based at the hospital or child development center. Once seen by a GP children will often get referred to a pediatrician for further investigation of any health concerns.
Ophthalmologists are specialist professionals based within a hospital. They have special qualifications and experience in eye disorders and in treating them with appropriate medicine and surgery. An ophthalmologist will be in charge of checking your child’s sight problem.
Every child when born gets assigned a Health Visitor. Their role is to visit you at home and monitor the general health and development of your new born. The Health Visiting service is available until your child is aged 5. They offer good support to the whole family. The health visitor will help you find services available in your area and offer advice on all areas of child development.
QTVI (Qualified Teacher for the Visually Impaired)
This professional help is made available by your local LEA (Local Education Authority). They will help with all aspects of your child’s upbringing in the home and throughout education. All QTVI’s are trained teachers who have specialised in working with the visually impaired.
Dependent on the Local Education Authority, they may be able to offer you the assistance of a Mobility Officer. Their role is to assist you in encouraging your child to move round independently and will teach them the necessary skills for being mobile. They can potentially work with your child within the home, schools and out in public.
Early Support Keyworker
An Early Support Keyworker works with families with additional needs and is a service offered by your Local Education Authority. Their role is to help put you in touch with any services they feel will be beneficial to you and your child. They will also assist you in making referrals to relevant professionals and arranging meetings and appointments on your behalf. They will come and visit you in your home for progress reports.
Special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
A SENCO is the staff member in a school who co-ordinates all the special educational needs provision. In smaller schools, the head teacher or deputy head might be the SENCO. SENCOs are responsible for education psychology, behaviour support and assessment of special educational needs. A SENCO can be offered in educational institutions subject to bursary awards to work one on one with your child.
A Learning Support Assistant or Teaching Assistant works alongside teachers and QTVI’s in foundation and early years settings. Either working with the child on a one and one basis or within a small group, they can ensure the child has the extra support needed.
Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist
The Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist works with your child using a range of exercises and special equipment to help your child develop physically. Occupational therapists work with children to develop day to day activities such personal care; eating, washing, dressing etc. They can advise on what special equipment and adaptations your house needs in order to help your child become more independent.
Speech and language therapists
In the event that your child has a delay in their Speech and Language they can assist with any communication difficulties and can also advise about strategies to support eating. A child with a sight problem will need to use alternative techniques to learn how to talk, Speech and Language Therapists can assist you and your child with developing effective techniques.
Educational Psychologists work with children who are having learning, behavioural or emotional difficulties. They will talk to your child and assess him as he plays in order to develop strategies to meet his educational nee