We support children and young people with visual impairment from 0 to 25 years at home and throughout their school life. We provide advice and support to their families and educational settings.

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Diagnosis and assessment

Most visually impaired children are referred to us by health professionals following eye checks at birth, at six to eight weeks and at two years. If you are concerned about your child’s vision, speak to your health visitor or doctor (GP) who may refer to a specialist eye clinic.

Your child’s vision is tested again at school during their reception year.

This screening detects childhood eye problems such as strabismus (squint) and checks if your child has a refractive error (is long or short sighted) and needs glasses to help them see.

If your child’s eyesight can be improved with glasses, you will need to take them to an optician. NHS eye checks are free for children under 16 years and for young people under 19 years who are in full-time education.

The NHS provides a voucher towards the cost of the glasses. Children who have been prescribed glasses are offered a yearly checkup and new voucher by their optician.

If your child has a problem with their eyesight that can’t be improved with glasses, the optician will suggest a referral to a specialist eye clinic.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. If your child is diagnosed with a visual impairment

Visual impairment is a sight loss that cannot be fully corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Vision loss can be moderate, severe or profound. Childhood visual impairment is rare in the UK. Most children with severe visual impairment are identified as babies by the health services.

Significant visual impairment can delay early childhood development, social communication, mobility and everyday living skills so it is important to seek help as early as possible.

People with severe visual loss may be given a Certificate of Visual Impairment by the eye hospital. This is sent to Lambeth Social Care team who will refer to Visual Impairment Support Service, Education.

2. Support for your child and/or young person from visual impairment support service

Children and young people

  • We help children and young people to understand their visual loss.
  • We support their use of assistive technology and low vision aids.
  • We support reading via accessible books in large print or Braille.
  • We support independent mobility skills.
  • We provide opportunities to meet visually impaired peers and other role models.
  • We support social and emotional wellbeing of visually impaired children and young people.

Families and Carers

  • We support carers to understand their child’s visual loss and its implications.
  • We model play activities and suggest accessible books and toys.
  • We provide information on eye conditions, support groups and social events.
  • We liaise with professionals from health, social care, education and voluntary sector.
  • We support transitions into playgroups, early years settings, schools and colleges.
  • We remain in close contact with parents and carers throughout their child’s education.
  • We support families with statutory assessments.

Settings and schools

  • We advise on the implications of visual impairment and suggest strategies to help.
  • We support the use of assistive technology to ensure access to the curriculum.
  • We teach specialist skills such as Braille and touch typing.
  • We adapt visual curriculum materials into large print, Braille and Moon.
  • We suggest adaptations to make the school environment accessible.
  • We provide individual mobility lessons to develop independent travel skills.
  • We contribute to education, health and care plans (EHCPs) and annual reviews.
  • We support transitions into and between schools and key stages.
  • We support the social and emotional well-being of visually impaired pupils.

3. Contact us

Lambeth Sensory Support Service
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Education Learning and Skills
Civic Centre
6 Brixton Hill
Tel: 020 7926 9062
Email: VIadmin@lambeth.gov.uk
Head of Service: Vivette Johnson

Postal Address:

Lambeth Sensory Support Service
London Borough of Lambeth
PO Box 734
SO23 5DG