Support for families when their child is diagnosed with vision impairment

Post date: 
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Family with child reading story

RNIB Scotland is setting up an exciting new project to support families when their child is diagnosed with a vision impairment. 

Known as IRISS, the project will "Identify, React, Intervene and offer Sustained Support".  
Listening to young people and their families about their experience at initial diagnosis, the need for support and early intervention at this crucial time is clear. 
Big Lottery Funding for three years is enabling RNIB Scotland to develop the IRISS project, which will support families affected by sight loss in the west and central Scotland at the crisis point of diagnosis or vision deterioration.
Two Paediatric Vision Support Officers, (PVSO) will identify and support up to 150 children and their families in 14 local authority areas. 
PVSOs will work closely with eye clinic staff, qualified teachers of visually impaired children and other health and social care professionals. 
Following referrals from professionals or self-referral from families the PVSO will visit the  work closely with families offering emotional support, a listening ear and develop a 12-week individualised programme to meet the family's needs. 
Support could include:
  • Someone for the young person to speak to
  • Opportunity to meet other children and young people with sight loss conditions through activity days and residential weekends
  • Providing advice and visual impairment awareness training to local social groups to help with inclusion, such as Guides, Cubs, and sports clubs
  • Emotional support and confidence building for the child
  • Information and advice for families to help them understand the impact of their child’s sight loss condition. This could include adaptations at home, play activities, encouraging mobility and independence as well as help with referrals to services.
  • An opportunity to take part in family fun days and weekends, residential weekends and peer support groups.
The aim is for the whole family to increase their understanding for the young person to be empowered to become successful learners and confident individuals who can contribute to family life and their local community.
For more information please email [email protected]
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