My blind or partially sighted child has other complex needs, where can I find support?

One of the most important contacts that can help with this is your local authority's Qualified Teacher of Visually Impaired Children (QTVI for short). The QTVI will visit you at home to provide practical support, and answer your questions.

If you haven't automatically been referred to one, telephone the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk. Alternatively, you can use the Sightline Directory to find your nearest service.

If your child has complex needs, their special educational needs will be assessed to make sure that any extra equipment or specialist help can be provided. The local authority must involve you in the assessment and give you the support and information you need to help you make decisions.

An assessment of your child's educational needs can take place at any time after the age of two years, or even earlier if you make a specific request. The Children's Services Team from your local authority will co-ordinate the assessment, but all of the professionals involved in caring for and helping your child can contribute.

These could include the ophthalmologist (consultant eye specialist), other hospital specialists, health visitor, speech and language therapist, physiotherapist, visual impairment teacher and social worker.

Local authorities are also encouraged to give you a single point of contact (key worker) to support you by co-ordinating the assessment, which could be the QTVI.

Most children with complex needs will go to special schools within their local authority. However, in exceptional circumstances, children sometimes attend residential schools further from home.

Ask your local authority for information about the special educational needs provision where you live, and arrange to visit the schools that may suit your child's needs.

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC plan) may also be drawn up for children with complex needs.

For more information about the education of children with vision impairment and complex needs, you can visit our education and learning section. You may also like to visit our parents’ section for information about everyday life.

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