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I am worried about my child's hearing or sight

Hearing and Visual Impairments Needs Panel

Hearing and visual impairments are disabilities that affect the ability to hear or see. Hearing impairments can range from mild to severe, and visual impairments can range from partial to total blindness.

Types of hearing and visual impairments

There are many different types of hearing and visual impairments. Some common types include:

  • Hearing impairments: Conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, and central auditory processing disorder.
  • Visual impairments: Refractive errors, strabismus, amblyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

Signs and symptoms of hearing and visual impairments

The signs and symptoms of hearing and visual impairments can vary depending on the type and severity of the impairment. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Hearing impairments: Difficulty hearing in noisy environments, difficulty understanding speech, difficulty following conversations, and difficulty with balance and coordination.
  • Visual impairments: Difficulty seeing objects in the distance, difficulty seeing in low light, difficulty reading, and difficulty with spatial awareness.

Who can help me?

The Council's Plymouth Advisory Team for Sensory Support Team helps children and young people with sensory impairments by supporting and enabling independent learning and the development of appropriate life skills.

They work with children and young people from birth to 19 years who are deaf or hearing impaired, visually impaired, deaf blind or dual sensory impaired to help them access the curriculum and environment at the same level as their peers.

Some of the organisations they work closely with include:

  • ear, nose and throat consultants
  • speech and language therapists
  • special educational needs coordinators (SENCo)
  • school-based staff
  • educational Psychologists
  • physiotherapists
  • volunteers (for example Plymouth Deaf Children's Society)
  • parent support advisors
  • paediatricians
  • cochlear implant team members
  • audiology
  • Sensory Solutions

Additionally, you can contact Plymouth's Early Help and SEND Advice Line  and book a conversation with a Family Support Worker. Just call 01752 668000, or email AccessEarlyHelp@plymouth.gov.uk.
 

Assessment of hearing and visual impairments

Hearing and visual impairments are assessed by qualified professionals, such as audiologists and ophthalmologists. The assessments will involve a range of tests to assess the individual's hearing and/or vision.

The audiologist will assess the individual's ability to hear different frequencies and intensities of sound. The ophthalmologist will assess the individual's vision and eye health.

Following an assessment, your child might be offered:

  • Hearing aids and cochlear implants: These devices can help to amplify sound and make it easier to hear.
  • Glasses and contact lenses: These devices can help to correct refractive errors, such as near-sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
  • Low vision aids: These devices can help people with low vision to see better. Some examples of low-vision aids include magnifiers, telescopes, and electronic devices.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to improve hearing or vision.

Supporting children with hearing and visual impairments

There are many things that parents and carers can do to support children with hearing and visual impairments. These include:

  • Creating a supportive home environment: This may involve providing the child with visual cues, auditory cues, and other communication aids. It is also important to create a safe and accessible environment for the child.
  • Advocating for the child's needs at school: It is important to work with the child's teacher and other school staff to ensure that the child is receiving the right support. This may involve providing the child with accommodations, such as extra time on tests or a preferential seating arrangement.
  • Providing opportunities for the child to participate in activities that they enjoy: It is important to provide children with hearing and visual impairments with opportunities to participate in activities that they enjoy. This may involve finding accessible activities or using adaptive equipment.

Frequently asked questions

What are hearing or visual impairments?

Hearing or visual impairments are disabilities that affect the ability to see or hear. They can be mild, moderate, or severe.

What are the signs and symptoms of hearing or visual impairments?

Common signs and symptoms of hearing impairments include difficulty hearing speech, difficulty understanding language, and difficulty following instructions. Common signs and symptoms of visual impairments include difficulty seeing objects, difficulty reading, and difficulty navigating.

How are hearing or visual impairments assessed?

Hearing and visual impairments are assessed by qualified professionals, such as audiologists and ophthalmologists. The assessments will involve a range of tests to assess the individual's hearing or vision.

What are the best practice interventions for hearing or visual impairments?

The best practice interventions for hearing or visual impairments are individualised and depend on the severity of the impairment. Some common interventions include hearing aids, cochlear implants, glasses, and contact lenses.

How can parents and carers support children with hearing or visual impairments?

There are many things that parents and carers can do to support children with hearing or visual impairments. These include providing extra help with communication and learning, creating a supportive home environment, and advocating for the child's needs at school.

 

 

Plymouth's Local Offer is organised into four main categories covering the following age ranges:

 Plymouth Local Offer homepage

 


 

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