Visual Impairment Team (VIT)
  • A to Z
  • Newsroom
  • Contact us
  • Accessibility
  • A- A+

Visual Impairment Team (VIT)

​What does the service do?

The Visual Impairment Team (VIT) is a team of specialist staff who work to promote the educational inclusion and achievement of children and young people with visual impairment. We support children with visual impairment from the time of diagnosis to when they leave school or further education. The team works with children in their homes, early years settings, local schools, or further education settings. We conduct assessments and provide advice and training to ensure that families and staff in settings have the knowledge and skills to support the development and achievement of their child or young person with a visual impairment. We also provide direct support and teaching to the child as appropriate including specialist skills such as Braille, touch typing, use of Low Vision Aids, improved use of functional vision, and mobility and independence skills.

The level of support offered to each child and family is based on the child’s needs in relation to their visual impairment, their stage of development and the knowledge and support that they have around them. Some children will require support on a weekly (or more) basis for many years while others will be seen far less frequently or only on request from the school or parents.


Who is the service for?

We work with visually impaired children both with and without additional special educational needs and disabilities. We work with children who are Multi-Sensory Impaired (MSI) or deafblind i.e. they have an impairment of both hearing and vision.

The service is available to support all children with a visual impairment that affects their learning. This does not include children whose vision is successfully corrected to normal through the use of glasses.


How can I start using the service?

Referrals to VIT often come from Health services at the time of diagnosis or from educational staff if they have a concern about a child’s vision. Parental consent is required for us to deal with any referral. You can also self refer your child 

If you are a parent or carer of a child with visual impairment moving into Leeds you can contact us directly on 0113 378 5296 or email us using the Contact us section on this page.​

Click to expandWhat happens after a referral is made to the team?

A qualified teacher of the visually impaired (QTVI) will contact you to arrange a visit to you and your child at home. They will assess your child’s needs and provide you with the understanding, knowledge and skills you need to help your child develop to the best of their potential. Through discussion, observation and assessment the QTVI will provide you with advice and strategies to maximise your child’s learning skills, understanding of the environment, communication, independence and mobility (moving around). They will work with you and your child on visual and tactile (touch) skills as appropriate.

Click to expandWhat happens when my child goes to nursery or school?

We will assist the school and your child by providing:
-Assessment  of your child’s educational needs in relation to their visual impairment.
-Advice on appropriate ways to teach and make the curriculum accessible.
-Training and support to enable your child to be fully included in the school and make good progress.
-Direct support and teaching for those children who require this specialist input.
-Advice and support to promote children’s independence including the use of specialist equipment and resources.

To achieve our aims we work in partnership with families and a range of professionals from educational settings and services, health care, social care and voluntary organisations. ​

Click to expandWhat help is there if my child requires a higher level of specialist support?

While most children with visual impairment attend their local mainstream school with the support of VIT, the team also helps pupils attending the specialist resourced provision for visually impaired children at Ralph Thoresby High School. This provision caters for the needs of high school children who because of their visual impairment require access to a higher level of specialist support and resources than could be provided in their local mainstream school.  

Click to expand What specialist skills and training do the staff supporting the children have?

All staff are specialists in their specific field of education and visual impairment.  They receive frequent training to ensure that their knowledge and skills are up to date.  The team employs a number of different specialist staff:
-Teachers of the visually impaired are qualified teachers who have done an additional qualification (diploma or master degree) in the education of children with visual impairment. 
-Children and Families Officers provide specialist support to young children at home or in settings.  They are particularly knowledgeable in early development and are skilled in developing learning for visually impaired children thorough play.
-Our Habilitation Officer works with children families and professionals to develop the child’s independence skills, particularly in relation to independent movement and travel.  
-Our Learning Resources officers are skilled at producing learning materials in formats that are most accessible to visually impaired children. They not only produce materials themselves but also train others to do so.  ​

Click to expandWhat support is available for my child to learn mobility and independence skills?

The team’s qualified Mobility and Habilitation Officer provides training for children and young people with visual impairment who need to develop additional skills in finding their way safely around different environments; finding and completing routes; and in travelling independently by foot or on public transport. Training is also provided in Daily Living and Independence skills e.g. food preparation and shopping. The Mobility and Habilitation Officer works closely with staff in settings and families to support children and young people at key transition times e.g. starting secondary school. All children and young people with visual impairment are entitled to an assessment of their Mobility and Habilitation needs, and training is provided throughout the year, including during school holidays.

Click to expandIs this service free?

VIT does not charge parents for the services we provide. All services are also free to all early years settings and state funded schools.  We do however charge post 16 colleges and independent schools for services other than those required to produce advice for statutory assessment and annual reviews.

Click to expandWho can I contact for more information?

If you want to know more about the service offered or discuss whether your child requires support from VIT please call on 0113 378 5296 or email us using the Contact us button on this page.


You can also write to Catherine White, City Lead Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Adam’s Court, Kildare Terrace, Leeds, LS12 1DB.
​​​


Did you find the information you were looking for?