Last updated:
9 November 2017

Support for children with visual and hearing impairment

Sensory support for children and young people aged between 0-19 years.

1 Who we support

The West Sussex Sensory Support Team (SST) supports children and young people aged between 0-19 years who have a sensory need - hearing, visual or multi-sensory impairment.

We cover children within the SEN Pre-school or School Support group. We also cover children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) or an Education, Health or Care (EHC) Plan who attend a West Sussex-maintained mainstream primary or secondary school, or special school, academy or free school.

Any child with a diagnosis of sensory impairment can be referred to us for support. This includes children whose hearing thresholds are at least in the mild, moderate, severe or profound levels of hearing loss as diagnosed by an audiologist.

For children with visual needs, their vision would be less than 6/12, diagnosed by an eye clinic and not correctable by glasses.

2 How we support you and your child

We visit children in their home, providing support and advice to parents so that you can monitor your child's development. 

Our rehabilitation and mobility officers (RMOs) provide specialist input to children with visual impairments. They focus on mobility, including orientation, long cane skills and route training, as well as independent living skills, such as pouring drinks, making cakes, dressing and appropriate social skills.

We hold regular meetings with audiologists, speech and language therapists, paediatricians, orthoptists, portage and social care to ensure that up-to-date information is shared between professionals.

We can help children:

  • with a visual impairment who may need a CCTV or specialist software in school to access text from a book
  • who are unable to access text and would need to be taught braille by an advisory teacher
  • with hearing aids or auditory implants needing a radio aid system to support the clarity of the speaker’s voice in lessons where background noise and distance from a speaker would affect them. The advisory teachers for hearing impairment set up the radio aid to work with the child’s hearing aids or cochlear implant.

3 How to start using the service

Most referrals come through the health service, in which case we contact the families, schools or preschools to offer our support. We also take referrals from parents, schools and other services that may already be involved.

If you would like to make a referral please call, email or send us a completed referral form. We do ask schools to gain written permission from parents before we become involved.

4 Early Years baby and toddler groups

We are also involved in four baby and toddler groups at the following Children and Family centres (CFCs), where we provide help to parents with deaf children.

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