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SENTASS Children’s Vision Team

The Children’s Vision Team is a centrally funded Local Authority Service which supports babies; children and young people 0 – 25 years of age who have a medically diagnosed visual impairment.

We are a team of Qualified Teachers of Visual Impairment, specialist Learning Support Assistants, Children’s Habilitation Specialist and Technical Support Officer.

What we do?

Peripatetic Teaching and Support

  • As a centrally funded service the peripatetic strand of the team support the educational, social and emotional needs of children and young people (and their families) from birth to 25 years who have a diagnosed visual impairment. 
  • Advice, information and assessment are provided to children in their home, pre-school, nursery and school placement.  This includes special school provision.
  • The majority of our work takes place in schools city wide on a peripatetic basis but specific work also takes place with pre-school children and their families in partnership with other children’s services and health professionals.
  • With parental permission information is received from and shared with other relevant professionals and services.
  • The nature and frequency of visits (of which there is agreed criteria) varies accord­ing to the circumstances and needs of each child.
  • A pre-school baby group, (‘Bright Lights’) runs weekly at the Alan Shearer Centre.

Referral

  • The majority of referrals come from health (Ophthalmology). However, we do operate an open referral system that allows anyone to refer, including parents.
  • If you have any concern regarding your child’s vision please contact your health visitor or GP first.
  • If referred directly from Ophthalmology the child will have a medical diagnosis of their visual impairment.
  • The child may have been registered as Sight Impaired (Partially Sighted) or Severely Sight Impaired (Blind), and have been issued with a Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI)).
  • New referrals are seen within 2 weeks of the initial referral.Visual Impairment Additionally Resourced Centres (VI ARCs)

Visual Impairment Additionally Resourced Centres (VI ARCs)

  • As part of a range of provision Children and Young People (CYP) with a visual impairment may attend an Additionally Resourced Centre based within Regent Farm First School, Gosforth Junior High and Gosforth Academy. 
  • The VI ARCs provide a base where pupils receive specialist support as part of an individual educational programme which addresses their vision, social and emotional, communication and daily living needs together with any additional difficulties. 
  • The ARCs also provide access to specialist equipment and training for the children to use it.  Curriculum resources are adapted to provide large print/modified texts or tactile/braille resources.  Children are also taught touch typing skills. 
  • The ARCs provide accommodation for individual and small group tuition as and when appropriate, in an environment adapted and modified to meet the needs of pupils with a visual impairment. 
  • In the First School the Literacy curriculum is adapted to support the teaching of Literacy through braille for children who require it.
  • Pupils have access to a continuum of provision from individual support to full inclusion within mainstream classes.  The provision is an inclusive part of the school and the pupils are integral members of the school community.  

Mobility and Independent Living Skills

  • SENTASS Children’s Vision Team in partnership with Guide Dogs for the Blind employs a qualified Children’s Habilitation Specialist who has experience in working with children with a diagnosed visual impairment from birth – 25 years. 
  • This input is seen as an integral part of the support offered by the Vision Team. The Habilitation Specialist liaises with the family, Qualified Teachers of Visual Impairment, staff in all educational settings and health professionals to ensure a co-ordinated and holistic approach. 
  • Children and young people (CYP) with a visual impairment have access to mobility and independent living skills training. The development of these skills have life-long implications for a child’s ability to participate in social, recreational, educational and employment opportunities.

Who to contact

Contact Name
Clare Podhajecki
Contact Position
Children’s Vision Team; Team Leader
Telephone
0191 277 4570
E-mail
clare.podhajecki@newcastle.gov.uk
Parent Organisation
SENTASS - Special Educational Needs Teaching and Support Service

Where to go

Name
The Newcastle Children’s Vision Team
Address
Library Block - Westgate Community College
West Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Postcode
NE4 9LU

Time / Date Details

Session Information
Monday to Friday
term time only

Other Details

Costs

Details
Local Authority funded

Availability

Referral required?
Yes
Referral Details

Please see referral section above.

Last updated: 27/02/2018
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