The Sensory and Physical Support Service at Peterborough City Council is part of the SEN and Inclusion Service (SENI). We are a team of specialist teachers and support staff. We work to ensure children and young people who have a vision, hearing and/or physical disability:
- can explain and understand their needs
- feel positive and confident
- know what support they may access
We also support families and people who work with the children and young people.
What we do
We provide advice, support and training for schools and education settings on the needs of children and young people who have a clinical diagnosis of hearing or vision impairment, or a physical disability.
We work with children and young people aged 0-25 at home, in nursery and early years settings, in schools and in Further Education colleges.
We work with families from diagnosis and provide support particularly at key times such as transition to a new school or college.
The Vision Impairment Team
The Vision Impairment Team can support children and young people who have a medically diagnosed vision condition that is not correctable by glasses. This may include:
- no functional vision
- a distance vision impairment
- a near vision impairment
- reduced visual field
- cerebral vision impairment
- a medically diagnosed condition which is likely to affect vision in the future
The Hearing Impairment Team
The Hearing Impairment Team can support children and young people who have a medically diagnosed hearing impairment. This may include:
- permanent hearing impairment in two ears (bilateral) or one ear (unilateral)
- a permanent mild, moderate, severe or profound hearing loss diagnosed by an audiologist
- a fluctuating hearing loss that is having a significant impact on progress or development, such as repetitive glue ear which has resulted in hearing aids
- babies diagnosed as deaf through the newborn hearing screening process
The Multi-Sensory Impairment Team
The Multi-Sensory Impairment Team can support children and young people who:
- have combined vision and hearing impairment
- have a functional loss in one or both of these senses that creates difficulty in accessing the curriculum and engaging in daily life experiences
The Physical Disability Team
The Physical Disability Team can support children and young people who have a long term and substantial physical disability.
This can include children and young people with a physical disability that affects:
- Mobility, balance and/or physical stamina
- Hand function
- Access to school and learning
How to refer
The majority of our referrals come from professionals in education and health services. This can include schools, nurseries, audiology, ophthalmology, physiotherapy or other health professionals. Families, children and young people can also request support by telephone or email.
The Request for Involvement Form for referral to the Sensory and Physical Support Service should, wherever possible, be accompanied by a recent letter confirming the clinical diagnosis for the child or young person. Families should always be asked to consent to referral and asked to sign the form.
Further information can be found on the useful documents section of the Education Page.
The support we can offer
When a referral is accepted the team will begin by assessing the current level of need. We offer four broad levels of support: advice, monitoring, support or support plus, dependent on a current assessment of need. This level of support will be reviewed regularly and is likely to change over time.
Advice is given to the family/child or setting following assessment – the family or setting will need to contact us again if they feel they need further support.
We will contact the setting/family to monitor how the child or young person is progressing, particularly when they are moving to a new setting.
We will be involved in giving direct advice and in supporting target setting or advice on interventions.
We will be directly involved in teaching the child or young person during targeted specialist interventions. We work alongside settings staff, so these staff can also support and deliver programmes.
The interventions may address areas such as Braille, communication development, using access technology, development of functional communication.
Guidance for this model of working was devised by the National Sensory Impairment Partnership and is used by the majority of equivalent services in the country.
This guidance does not cover the Physical Disability part of the service and this part of the service does not offer direct teaching or Support Plus interventions.
The Peterborough Hubs
We work closely with the Peterborough Hub schools that have centres of expertise for hearing, vision and physical disabilities.
These schools have staff with additional skills and knowledge in a specific area of special educational need and may be able to offer support to professionals and families.
These centres do not offer initial assessments of children’s needs.
Details of the Peterborough Specialist Hub Network can be found on Education page.