Family insight

Supporting children with sight loss in living and learning

We want families to feel fully equipped to:

  • Understand their children’s eye condition and how it affects their sight

  • Access support both at home or in school

  • Help our children reach their full potential

Following the completion of the five year ‘Family Insight’ project, we have identified four key recommendations to improve services and support for families of children aged 12 and under with a visual impairment in Northern Ireland to help realise these aspirations. 

(Through the ‘Family Insight’ project (2016-2021), generously funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, we supported families of children with a visual impairment aged under 12 in living and learning, working in partnership with Angel Eyes NI.)

We are calling for:

  • A statutory specialist mental health support service for children with sight loss and their parents or carers

  • Greater understanding of music therapy and recognition as a key allied health profession

  • Increased awareness in supporting pupils who are blind or partially sighted – including making effective use of technology

  • Effective continuous collaboration amongst the health, education and voluntary sectors to provide the best holistic support for our children and young people.

Below are four videos outlining these recommendations:

Benefits of music therapy for children with sight loss 

The role and practice of music therapy can be misunderstood and undervalued in its potential to facilitate development, particularly for children with sight loss and complex needs. 

Through our work with families who have been able to avail of funded music therapy through the Family Insight project, we have seen the remarkable progress children have made through this intervention. 

We are now calling for greater recognition of music therapy as an allied health profession in Northern Ireland, for the intervention to be made available on Statements of Special Education and adequately funded. 

Download the video transcript

Call for reform in the education of children with sight loss in NI

If your child has been born with, or developed a visual impairment, it can be hard to know what support is available to help with their learning and development, both in and outside of school. 

We want to ensure children’s needs are met in their learning environment through the best use of technology, an effective statementing process, and increased understanding of the impact of conditions affecting sight amongst professionals.

Download the video transcript

Call for specialist mental health support for families of children with sight loss

Visual impairment presents unique challenges to anyone with sight loss, and their families. From our work with families here in Northern Ireland, we are calling for a specialist sight loss support service to be made available through statutory healthcare provision to ensure parents, children and young people, have the support they need when they most need it.

Download the video transcript

Working together for children and families affected by sight loss

No one support sits in isolation. It is only when all of us work together that we see the best outcomes for our children.

We are calling for those in healthcare, education, voluntary and private sectors to consider how they can best work with others to better support children with sight loss in NI – through being creative, pooling resources, and gaining better awareness of support available from other organisations and referring appropriately so family gets the right support at the right time.

Download the video transcript

Contact us

To discuss how you can help make a difference for children with sight loss in Northern Ireland, contact [email protected], (RNIB Deputy Lead, Children, Young People, Families & Education, Devolved Nations) or get in touch via:

 

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