Supports deaf blind and multi-sensory impaired babies, children and young people aged 0 to 19 years, their families and carers.
The Multi-Sensory Impairment Team supports deaf blind/multi-sensory impaired babies, children and young people (0 to 19 years) their families and carers.
As part of the service offer commissioned by the local authority we provide assessment, monitoring and review of children & young people based on eligibility criteria.
Bespoke time-based consultancy support can be purchased as part of our traded offer.
What we do
- identification and assessment of deaf/blind/multi-sensory impairments in consultation with families/carers, professionals and other agencies
- deliver formal and informal training
Work with parents and carers by
- giving early intervention and supporting in the home to develop skills
- offering support and advice by giving information about other agencies, support groups, specialist toys and equipment
- advising on school entry and phase transfer
Work with early years settings and schools by
- directly supporting multi-sensory impaired pupils through intervention
- ongoing assessment of visual, auditory and tactile functioning
- a Team approach to the assessment of hearing that may include formal tests of hearing, supported by behavioural observations adapted to suit the response mode of the child. Feedback from families and professionals involved is part of the assessment process
- ongoing audio logical assessment of hearing aid users backed up by maintenance of hearing aid systems
- advice given on specialist equipment, e.g. classroom sound field systems and portable sound field systems
- advice on the development of communication strategies
- giving advice on specialist equipment, resources, modified materials and classroom management
- advice on specific environmental adaptations to promote inclusion
- mobility training
- contribute to Statutory Assessment, reviews, IEPs and programmes of work
- advise on special arrangements for examinations where appropriate
The Multi-Sensory Impairment team offers support from teachers with specialist qualifications in multi-sensory impairment, visual impairment or hearing impairment, skilled Teaching Assistants, Educational Audiologists and a qualified Paediatric Mobility Specialist.
A bespoke time-based support service is provided to schools and settings to offer practical support and targeted strategies, using National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) criteria, to deliver services in order to close the gap between deaf children and their peers and remove barriers to learning for children and young people (0-25 years) with diagnosed sensory impairments.
A bespoke time-based consultancy service for schools and settings which may include:
Specialised assessment and reporting
- assessment and support of learners with low level or suspected visual and/or hearing difficulties to close the gap between their attainment and that of their peers
- SEN Audit - Detailed accessibility audits of the school environment, ensuring best practice and preparedness for teaching vulnerable groups
- functional vision screening of children with suspected visual difficulties
- examinations access arrangements screening and evidence reports
- assessment and management of hearing loss
- quality assurance of amplification systems (radio aids, sound field systems and hearing aids) including reviewing effectiveness of aided hearing
- acoustic surveys of listening environments and recommendations
- Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)/ Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) advice and management
- specialist communication methods such as on body signing, signing, braille and symbols
- aetiology of hearing loss, measurement of hearing, descriptors of hearing loss
- emotional health and wellbeing support and training
- ICT advice for inclusion
- input into writing of fire evacuation plans
- Risk assessment advice for trips and off site activities transition
- best practice transition advice for vulnerable groups curriculum advice
- delivery of peer awareness across whole schools
- delivery of curriculum units such as “senses”, SEAL and citizenship with resources and support for teaching staff
- delivery of communication package across whole school
Our support is not limited to the solutions listed.
Schools are able to purchase bespoke time-based consultancy to support hearing impairment, visual impairment and multi-sensory impairment requirements as part of a Sensory Impairment SLA.
Contact the Multi-Sensory Impairment team to discuss your requirements.
Resource: Top tips for pupils with Multi-Sensory Impairment
Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI) is a combination of significant hearing and visual problems. A combination of these two impairments will multiply the difficulties an individual experiences since they will be unable to compensate for the lack of one sense with another.
- use the preferred method of communication, whether that is On-body signing, hands on/tactile signing, finger spelling, Moon or something else
- use the senses smell, taste, touch and find concrete and meaningful experiences for example, phonics object bags
- encourage sensory play fill paint with sand, use jelly, pasta and other foods to develop sensory tolerance and interest
- movement interaction use movement and imitation to develop intentionality. For example, using intensive interaction
- objects of reference are a wonderful tool for building meaning so, have cutlery to denote lunch time, for example
- photographs use pictures of known people, activities, likes, dislikes to build communication
- use symbols to demonstrate wishes, timetable changes, routine ensure the CYP has become familiar with them and encourage them to make choices
- tactile images make raised diagrams, tactile pictures etc to consolidate learning
If in doubt, ask your Specialist Teacher!
Resource: Tips and Play Strategies for Children with a Sensory Impairment
Tips to help encourage extended play for children with a sensory impairment
Children learn best through the first hand experiences that they have in their play. The play needs of a child with a sensory impairment are essentially the same as those without, and should follow the same developmental pattern, even where development is delayed. However a child’s Sensory impairment may affect how they choose to play – for example, children may use and play with language rather than objects or vice versa in their imaginative play because the other offers little feedback.
The tips below can help encourage your child to extend their play:
- give children plenty of time to explore new things
- all children need the opportunity to experience challenges, risks and excitement in a way that is appropriate for them
- observe and listen to a child’s reactions to work out what stimulates and interests them and what they enjoy
- children need to be alert to play and enjoy the challenge of new things. If they are tired or unwell then try less demanding or familiar activities
- encourage, support and extend their play with objects/language, but also be willing to leave them when they have had enough!
- consider colour, contrast, lighting, and use of plain backgrounds. Try to find out if the child sees or hears better on one side, or if objects should be presented in a particular position
- make sure that the child is in the most suitable position to use their hands and eyes to best advantage, whether seated, standing or lying
- define and limit the play space around the child to create a “den” or familiar “safe and quiet” place to play when needed
- keep toys within easy reach so that the child’s movements can create an effect. For example, suspend toys above children lying down
- if objects roll out of reach, try to take the child to the object, rather than bringing the object back to the child as this will encourage them to explore
- allow a child to explore objects with their mouth and feet, as well as encouraging the use of hands
- use language that is simple, short and descriptive and relates to what the child is doing or the object they hold
- if the child has repeated behaviours, try to develop them into a more creative activity
- make sure you have joint attention. Talk about the object the chid is looking at or playing with
- keep background noise to a minimum – remember hearing devices amplify all sounds not just speech
- comment on what a child is doing when they are playing so you are giving them the language associated with their play
- get down to the child’s level so they can see your face and lip patterns
- make sure the light is on your face when talking to your child, so do not play in front of a window with the light behind you
Choosing toys for your child
Sometimes you don’t need toys. You can make a language opportunity out of everyday activities. For example, sorting the washing out using all the appropriate language or making a cake together. Singing and nursery rhymes offer your child the opportunity to play with language, and the rhythm and rhyme will help develop their early phonological awareness.
Real objects and home-made equipment encourage play and exploration, offering lots of opportunities for free play. For example, you can make a treasure basket containing real, everyday items, such as a bunch of keys, paper, ribbons, a wooden egg cup or a piece of fruit. Choose things that vary in weight, size, texture, colour, taste, temperature and sound. Objects used in the basket should be washable, disposable or replaceable. The child will soon demonstrate their likes and dislikes while playing with the basket.
To encourage language development, try a Pandora’s suitcase, similar to the treasure basket idea. Fill a suitcase with carefully chosen real objects. For example, mittens, hat, wooden spoons, sponge, cup, balls of different textures and sizes, a hairbrush, comb, slippers, zip, ribbon, purse, handbag and so on. Children will love rummaging through the suitcase. You can encourage lots of discussion about each object, for example what it feels like, what it does, what it is made of and so on. Fancy dress offers similar opportunities to both explore the purpose of an item and to develop language through role play.
As you can see, special toys really are not essential but if you are buying toys, there may be features which make them more appealing to the child or which offer greater opportunities for development. Look for these features:
- good colour and tone contrast
- bold and clear lettering
- fluorescent or light-reflecting
- encourages development of hand-eye co-ordination
- encourages good co-ordination of hands, using both hands together
- encourages development of fine finger control
- children encouraged to use their eyes to follow an object (VI) or sound (HI)
- interesting texture offering some variety to touch
- moving parts
- discrete pieces which can be discriminated by touch (VI)
- switches are recognisable by touch as on or off, and click when operated (VI)
- cause and effect is clearly demonstrated
- makes a sound or other cue to an action having occurred
- encourages physical play, for example running, jumping
- encourages development of sense of smell
Eligibility criteria for SEN, Disabilities and inclusion teams (PDF)
Eligibility Criteria for SEN, Disabilities and Inclusion Teams
Specialist Teaching Referral Form (word document)
Request for Sensory Team involvement form