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Tips for Parents/Carers supporting children with a vision impairment

Advice and simple tips for families to use with a child or young person with a vision impairment during Covid-19 period

The current situation with regards to the SENSS service considering the Government’s advice around Covid-19 is as follows:

 First and foremost, the SENSS service continues to operate but in a slightly different way. We appreciate that this might be a very worrying time for schools with a child or young person with a sensory (hearing or visual impairment) or a physical disability or complex medical needs, but rest assured that we will continue to be available to support you (as we have been doing since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic) in any way we can.

 

We are striving to maintain a high level of support to you through alternative means, for example, virtual video meeting or conference calls. and in line with Government guidance, we will support you in ways that do not involve face to face meetings or go into settings. We may undertake face-to-face visits deemed essential and only after all other alternative ways have been exhausted. 

 

To help schools the SENSS service is mindful that certain measures necessary during this pandemic may impact access to the curriculum for pupils with a vision impairment and we wish to support them and you with mitigating this. The service has produced the guidance below that has general ideas that may be helpful to support a child or young person with a vision impairment during these uncertain times.

 

You may continue to contact SENSS staff via their email or alternatively, you can contact the SENSS service by email on enquiries.senss@hounslow.gov.uk

Vision impairment

 

  • Where there are any changes to routes around school or social distancing measure, arranging a quiet time for your child to visit and be made aware of these is a good idea.
  • If a child uses trailing techniques, it is recommended the surface areas touched are wiped down regularly and that they wash their hands or uses sanitiser at the end of each route. You should not stop a child with a vision impairment using trailing techniques.
  • Some children might not be aware of the distance they are from others and will need sighted peers and adults to help ensure appropriate distancing is maintained. The use of a long or symbol cane may help to reinforce this to others.
  • Play games with your child to understand how far 2-meters is.
  • Teach and rehearse with your child how to ask others to remain 2 meters away from them explaining they have a vision impairment.
  • Consider remove obstacles and furniture which might cause an obstruction and restrict the space to move around in.
  • Remember to use your child’s name when speaking to them and encourage others to do the same.
  • Control lighting to minimise glare e.g. window blinds down on bright days and lights switched on during duller days.
  • Sign up to RNIB lending library for large print reading books delivered to your door. You can get a range of fiction and non-fiction, and even select specific topics to help reinforce learning at school.
  • If you child is bringing home, or keeping at home during home learning, any electrical equipment, ensure it is fully charged before the start of the school day. 
  • We recommend cleaning electronic equipment regularly:
    • Unplug the device from any cables and external power sources.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for cleaning and disinfecting.
    • If no guidance exists from the manufacturer: use an antibacterial wipe which states it is safe to use on electronic equipment and screens (avoid bleach products), wipe off excess moisture using a microfiber cloth (avoid abrasive cleaning cloths such as paper towels). Do not excessively wipe the surface of the device. Avoid getting moisture into any openings. Do not spray aerosol or other spray cleaners directly on the device.
  • Join up to charities who run remote activities and social groups for children with a vision impairment such as RSBC.
  • Home learning:
    • Where using a computer ensure the accessibility settings are set to the appropriate format for your child more information can be found here:

https://mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk/impairment/vision

  • Use the magnification tool on any device where appropriate. Advice on this can be found on the internet or by contacting your Advisory Teacher for Vision Impairment. Laptops, desktops, android tablets and iPads all have a magnifier feature. 
  • If you child is struggling to access the online resources, ask school if they are able to provide printed resources or print at home if possible.
  • Contact your child’s allocated Advisory Techer for Vision Impairment for advice on access and modifications to resources. 
  • Ask the school if there are any practical resources you might be able to borrow to reinforce your child’s learning.

 

For further support and guidance please contact your Advisory Teacher for Vision Impairment.