Sensory Impairment

Request for Access to Babcock LDP Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion Advisory Service (updated Oct 21)

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Two new online learning courses to support deaf children in Early Years and a new online learning course to support mental health and wellbeing for children with a visual impairment

Language, Listening and Communication in the Early Years

There are more children being diagnosed and fitted with hearing aids earlier resulting in increased numbers of Early Years children requiring specialist support. Many settings find themselves wanting to support these children effectively and are actively looking at options for their own awareness development. Cost: £35 + VAT (duration approx 1 hour) Find out more about this Language and Communication course.

An Introduction to British Sign Language for anyone working with deaf children age 3-5 yrs.

60 BSL signs to get you started, social and emotional language, behaviour management. Cost: £35 + VAT (duration approx 2 hours) Find out more about this BSL course.

Childhood Visual Impairment: Impact on Mental Health and Wellbeing

This training brings together research and information from a range of current thinking to offer a holistic approach to exploring the mental health needs of our visually impaired young people. As a learner on this course you will have increased understanding about the impact that vision loss has on mental health. Key areas covered will be the importance of physical activity and avoidance of sedentary lifestyle; anxieties and phobias; mental health in the school environment and how our vision impacts this; preparation for adulthood and how to support families. Cost: £35 + VAT Find out more about this course


Who are the Sensory Impairment Team?

The Sensory Impairment Team consists of three teams:

  • Visual Impairment
  • Deaf and Hearing Impairment
  • Multi-Sensory Impairment

The team has highly qualified teachers of Visual Impairment, Multi-Sensory Impairment and Teachers of the Deaf who have had to undertake a two year mandatory qualification before starting this role. Our Teachers of the Deaf are also qualified to a minimum of British Sign Language Level 2. They are supported by Educational Audiologist, Advisory Deaf Inclusion workers, and a Senior Sensory Impairment advisor 
All members of the team have regular on-going professional development within their specialist area to ensure that they are kept up to date with key issues that are taking place within sensory impairment.
We offer teaching, support, advice, Early Help and interventions for children and young people from 0-25, where a visual, hearing or multi- sensory impairment is having an impact on their ability to access education.

During COVID 19 pandemic we have been regularly updating our advice for parents, carers, teachers and support staff to support remote learning. Click here for details

Who do we support?

We support children and young people (CYP), families and carers, pre-schools, nurseries and all educational settings including special schools.

For an explanation of our teacher roles please see Related Content and Resources.

The Referral Pathway

The Sensory Impairment Team considers referrals for support directly from schools, settings and health. A referral meeting is held fortnightly (term time) where each case, with supporting evidence e.g. Graduated Response is considered. At the referral meetings there are representatives from all Babcock SEND teams: Sensory Impairment, Physical Difficulties and ICT, Communication and Interaction, Social and Emotional Mental Health. If one or more SEND need is identified during the meeting the opportunity for joint working ensures that the individual needs of the child or young person are met. Please use the Request for Access form.

Process after the Referral

Once a referral is accepted letters will be sent to both settings and parents informing them of the decision made at the meeting. A QTVI, ToD or QTMSI will be allocated and make contact with the home and/or setting to arrange a suitable time to visit. This will normally be undertaken within 3 working weeks (term time only).

Initial Visit

The initial visit will consist of a specialist assessment of need and observation of the child or young person. If the CYP is in an educational setting a discussion with class teacher, support staff and SENCO will be needed to look at appropriate strategies and interventions. This will be undertaken within at least 3 working weeks.

A written report will be provided within 10 working days of the initial assessment visit. This report will describe the diagnosis, assessment results, provision and training needs in a way that can be clearly understood by parents and professionals involved.
Long term planning outcomes will be provided annually in the form of a support matrix for schools to use to ensure CYP can access the curriculum and be successfully included alongside their peers.

Next Steps

After the initial assessment the level of support will be determined on individual need in accordance with the current National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) eligibility framework. If appropriate, joint visits with other professionals such as Communication and Interaction team, Speech and Language therapists or Rehabilitation Officers for Visually Impaired Children (ROVICs) can be arranged.

Sensory Impairment Team Involvement will ensure

  • Improved outcomes and that enable CYP to achieve their full potential and fulfil their own aspirations.
  • Parents/carers will gain a better understanding of the needs of their child or young person and will have confidence that their needs are being met
  • Schools and settings will build capacity through wider workforce development leading to  an increase in local provision


DCC Local Offer: Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria & Support Allocation Matrices for Babcock SEN, Disabilities and Inclusion Teams

Resources to support children and young people with sensory impairments who are self isolating

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) – An introduction

A group of professionals from organisations across Devon have worked with parents and carers from IACSS (Improving Access to Communication Services and Support) to put together an interactive introduction to AAC

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Devon's SEND Local Offer

The Local Offer can help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families to find the right help and support.

Find out more on the Local Offer site
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