Vision and Multi-Sensory Impairment Service

Vision and Multi-Sensory Impairment Service (SenCom)

As part of the Sensory and Communication Support Service (SenCom), the Vision Impairment Service (VIS) is an Education Support Service that supports children and young people from Torfaen, Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent. VIS aims to support the successful inclusion of children and young people with vision impairment (VI), multiple disabilities and vision impairment (MDVI) and those with multi-sensory impairment (MSI) in their local communities, nurseries, mainstream and special schools settings.

Pre-school intervention programmes are developed for the under threes and can be delivered either in group settings held at the SenCom Centre or within the home.

VIS provides a range of services including direct support, training and habilitation (independent living skills and mobility), in relation to individual needs. VIS uses a person centered approach to work closely in partnership with children and young people with VI/MSI, parents, schools, education/career services and health professionals to meet individual needs as identified through the assessment and consultation process.

Children and young people with multi-sensory impairment (MSI) have a combination of hearing and vision loss (dual sensory impairment). Advice and guidance is made available to parents and schools regarding beneficial strategies, establishing appropriate programmes and monitoring the development of communication.

A Habilitation Specialist provides training, direct support, intervention and advice in mobility, orientation and independent living skills for children and young people with vision/multi-sensory impairment, using information from assessments and reviews.

VIS welcomes enquiries and referrals from anyone with concerns regarding children and young people with a vision or multi-sensory impairment.

Following a request for an assessment of vision or multi-sensory functioning, one of our qualified teachers of vision (QTVI) or multi-sensory impairment (QTMSI) will assess the child/young person’s needs. Next steps following the assessment, will depend on the outcomes of various observations made, including:

Visual acuity (near and distance)

Visual fields

The impact of vision and hearing impairment on communication (MSI referrals)

Colour vision

Visual perception skills

Habilitation skills

Short or long term intervention may be provided for children and young people with VI/MSI. The VIS will also offer advice, guidance and training to schools and families.

Multi-Sensory Impairment (MSI)

The philosophy for supporting children and young people with MSI is summed up by Miles & Riggio (1997):

Individuals with MSI…"deserve to be heard and respected for what they have to say, however they say it – with language, with gesture, with movement, with voice, with hands, with eyes, with silence.”

The combined effects of hearing and vision impairment impact profoundly upon a persons ability to gather information from the world around them because someone with multi-sensory impairment has less chance of their poorer senses being enhanced by another and so the adverse effects are greatly increased, more so than someone suffering from a single sensory loss of the same degree of impairment.

Advice and guidance is made available to parents and schools regarding beneficial strategies, establishing appropriate programmes and monitoring the development of communication.

The Qualified Teacher of MSI will aim to do the following:

  • Provide learners with a structured programme leading to an appropriate means of communication

  • Promote awareness and understanding of communication needs and methods.

  • Identify individual needs and abilities through an ongoing process of monitoring and review.

The principles of the approach to engaging with learners with MSI, their families and schools are:

  • Communication is the core aspect in the education and development of learners with MSI.

  • Communication development requires a consistent approach and should be an integral part of everyday life across all settings.

  • An acknowledgement that all MSI learners can and do communicate.

If there are any questions regarding MSI please contact the Vision impairment service for further information.

Useful websites:

  • The National Centre on Deaf-Blindness

  • Deafblind UK


Get in Touch:

Telephone: 01633 648888