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.
Local support groups can be found by using the search term 'COVID-19' in the search box at the top of the page.
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.
You can find more details in this video
The Sensory and Physical Support Service now have a habilitation specialist who works to support access to education environments and access to the education curriculum.
Habilitation specialists can teach a child or young person with vision impairment, strategies and techniques to support them to become independent.
The skills a habilitation specialist will focus on relate to three main areas:
Daily living skills
Habilitation specialists look for what can be done by the child or young person independently rather than what they can’t.
Some of the skill development a habilitation specialist may focus on could include:
learning how to move around the classroom or building
how to use a cane if the young person has this level of vision impairment
dressing skills, personal hygiene or food related activities routines
how to use equipment such as the oven or knives in a cookery session safely
Habilitation specialists will also undertake environmental audits of buildings or spaces and offer advice and recommendations on how this space can be made accessible to the child or young person.
There is no open referral to our new habilitation specialist, but the Teacher of Vision Impairment or Multi-Sensory Impairment will discuss with a setting the need to refer. Having sought parental consent or consent from the young person where appropriate, the Teacher will make a referral to the service.
To contact the Sensory and Physical Support Team please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Vision impairment training modules
We have produced several training modules that are intended to support education staff who are working with children with vision impairment.
This module provides you with an opportunity to develop an awareness of vision impairments and the impact they have on accessing the curriculum and the environment. With lots of practical activities and opportunity to reflect on good practice.
Adapting and Modifying Materials
This module provides you with an opportunity to understand the why, what and how of adapting and modifying materials for young people with vision impairments, highlighting the importance of this reasonable adjustment with lots of examples for discussion.
Social Skills, Wellbeing and Self-Advocacy
This training module identifies some of the difficulties young people with vision impairments face with regards to developing social skills and social interaction. It includes practical tips for promoting self-esteem and emotional wellbeing.
Independent Living Skills
A training module with lots of practical activities to raise awareness of some of the barriers to independent living skills and strategies for support.
Apps for Independence
An introduction to a range of apps to enable young people with vision impairments to access the curriculum, their environment and public transport with increasing independence.
Using iPads in lessons
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
Hearing impairment training Modules
We have produced a series of training module videos that are intended to support education staff who are working with children with hearing impairment.
Understanding Deafness and Hearing Impairment
This module will allow you to understand some of the causes of deafness, how degrees or levels of deafness are categorised and the implications of this and to know about how the ear works.
Hearing technology- benefits and limitations
This module will give you information about the range of hearing technologies that can be used to support deaf learners including hearing aids, cochlear implants, radio aids and soundfields. It includes practical tips and advice on supporting the use of hearing technology for deaf learners.
Supporting communication for deaf and hearing impaired learners
This module will give you information about how deafness can impact on communication and some practical strategies for supporting communication, including developing vocabulary, the range of sign language options etc
Deafness and emotional well-being
This module will give you an insight into the impact being deaf or having a hearing loss can have on social experience and emotional development
Adapting Teaching and Learning
This module will give you some practical ways in which to adapt your teaching and the learning environment to ensure that a deaf or hearing impaired learner is included and can access the curriculum.
How Teaching Assistants can support deaf learners
This module is prepared by two experienced teaching assistants who have been working with deaf children at primary and secondary level of some years in our hearing impairment hub schools. The information describes what the role entails and gives practical ideas on how a TA may best work with a child to ensure they develop their language and independence- suitable for TAs and class or subject teachers.
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 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
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.
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.
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.