My blind or partially sighted child has other complex needs, where can I find support?

If your child has complex needs, their special educational needs will be assessed to make sure that any extra equipment or specialist help can be provided. Your Local Authority must involve you in the assessment and give you the support and information you need to help you make decisions.

An assessment of your child's educational needs can take place at any time after the age of two years old, or even earlier if you make a specific request. The Children's Services Team from your Local Authority will co-ordinate the assessment, but all of the professionals involved in caring for and helping your child can contribute.

These could include the ophthalmologist (consultant eye specialist), other hospital specialists, health visitor, speech and language therapist, physiotherapist, visual impairment teacher and social worker.

Local Authorities are also encouraged to give you a single point of contact (key worker) to support you by co-ordinating the assessment, which could be the QTVI.

A QTVI (Qualified Teacher of Visually Impaired Children) is one of your most important contacts. They will visit you at home to provide practical support and answer any questions you may have.

If you haven't automatically been referred to one, you can find your nearest VI team, on the Sightline Directory by entering your postcode and the search words 'teacher' or 'child support'.

Those living in England can also use RNIB's Local Offer database.

Most children with complex needs will go to mainstream or special schools within their Local Authority. However, in exceptional circumstances, children sometimes attend residential schools further from home.

Ask your Local Authority for information about the special educational needs provision where you live, and arrange to visit the schools that may suit your child's needs.

In England an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC plan) may also be drawn up for children with complex needs. In Scotland, Wales and NI another form of support plan may be drawn up.

Further information on the education of children with vision impairment and complex needs, can be found on RNIB's Education and learning and Resources for parents of blind or partially sighted children webpages.

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