Vision Impairment (VI) Service

If your child or young person has a visual impairment (vision loss), the Vision Impairment (VI) team might work with them and you to support and give advice. This team are part of the Physical and Sensory Impairment Specialist Teaching Service at Essex County Council.

The team has:

  • Lead VI Specialist Teacher
  • Senior VI teacher
  • Senior Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI) Teacher
  • VI Specialist Teachers
  • Sensory Support Specialists
  • Habilitation Specialists
  • Braille Instructor
  • Specialist ICT Technician

Children and young people and their families

The team support children and young people aged 0 to 25 with VI and their families, including:

  • home visits to assess and keep track of how well your pre-school child is doing
  • help develop residual vision
  • identifying what visual help they need using a tool called Functional Vision Assessment (FVA)
  • identifying what habilitation support they need
  • teaching of pre-cane and cane skills and routes at school
  • teaching of tactile, pre-braille and Braille skills and special ICT skills
  • advice for One Planning and EHC plans on what your child or young person needs
  • advice and support when your child with VI or young person moves from one educational setting to another
  • advice around general development, literacy development, social and emotional development

Schools and settings

  • advice on helping children with VI to access the curriculum or exams
  • specialist equipment
  • training on how to use specialist equipment
  • advice on making changes so that your child or young person can take part at school (reasonable adjustments)
  • general vision impairment awareness training
  • training around the specific needs of your child in their setting or school
  • advice to promote independence for children with VI

Deciding on support for your child or young person

The team use the NatSIP Eligibility Framework when they are deciding how to support your child or young person with VI.

Who the service provides for

Children and young people who have been diagnosed by an orthoptist, ophthalmologist or paediatrician with visual impairment. This includes children:

  • registered as severely sight impaired or sight impaired
  • whose eye condition is deteriorating
  • not eligible for sight impairment registration but who have a recognised bilateral eye condition which cannot be corrected by glasses
  • who experience erratic eye movements or have a reduced level of sight with an associated condition

Hours of operation

Term time only

How the service is accessed

Your child’s ophthalmologist refers your child to the service.

Families cannot refer children directly but the team are always happy to speak to you. Please indicate which team your query or referral is for when emailing the service: HI, VI or PNI.

Operational locations

  • Essex


County Hall
Market Road