What help is available for me as the family/carer of a child or young person with vision impairment?

A key point of support is your Local Authority Vision Impairment teaching service, (sometimes called Sensory Support/Specialist teaching service). Your child should be referred to this service from the eye clinic as soon as possible once they have been diagnosed with a vision impairment - support can start from birth. A Qualified Teacher of children with Vision Impairment (QTVI) and Habilitation Specialist from the VI team can support and advise you about early learning and living skills such as feeding, eating, toys, play and mobility.  As well as arranging support for your child in their nursery, school and college as they move through their education.

If your child is diagnosed with a vision impairment at a very young age, support may be structured around the Developmental Journal for babies and children with vision impairment (DJVI) which is an early intervention programme, usually available from the VI service.

You can self-refer to your local VI service if this is not done automatically for you by the eye clinic, although you will need to provide medical evidence of the visual diagnosis. 

If you live in England, you can find contact details for your local VI team on RNIB's Local Offer database which can be found on RNIB's getting the right support - SEN and inclusion webpage.

If you live in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you can find your nearest VI team on the Sightline directory by entering your postcode and the search words ‘teacher’ or ‘child support’.

Further information including help on understanding your child’s eye condition, advice about caring for your child in the early years and into school.  As well as details of support available from statutory services in health and education can be found on RNIB's CYPF web pages.

RNIB's Children, Young People, Families and Education team, and Guide Dogs’ Family Support team give the families of children with vision impairment emotional and practical support, advice and information. They also advise and work with other professionals and organisations.

Further information can be found on RNIB’s CYPF web pages and Guide Dogs family support web pages.

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