The Sensory Support Service is a team of specialist teachers providing highly specialist support for children with hearing or vision difficulties.
It is our conviction that all hearing impaired/visually impaired pupils have access to appropriately qualified staff, to audiological/vision aids and ICT equipment.
What do we do?
We provide a comprehensive programme of support to children with hearing and/or visual impairments and their schools, parents/carers and supporting professionals.
- Hearing and vision assessments and advice on meeting children's need
- Pre-school support for children with sensory impairment, their parents/carers and professionals involved with the family
- Specialist teaching support and advice concerning children with hearing and/or visual impairment attending mainstream/special schools
- Resources and adaptations for children with severe vision impairments. This includes advice/training on the use of electronic aids and Braille or Moon
- Monitoring children's progress and supporting specialist examination and assessment arrangements
Where do we do it?
We provide our services wherever children are and wherever their teachers, carers, support staff require it.
- Mainstream and special schools
The majority of children with vision or hearing difficulties are identified at the pre-school stage and support commences at this time. Diagnosis is traumatic and families are given a significant amount of home-based support at this time.
How do we do it?
- Peripatetic support - in-class support, withdrawal support, advisory work as required
- Pre-school support for children and their families
- Intensive language support for children with hearing impairment
- Supporting families/carers
- Acting as an advocate for children and young people with hearing impairment or visual impairment and their families/carers
- Multi-agency work to ensure seamless service delivery
- Promoting inclusion for children and young people
- Provision of visual services including social inclusion services and the teaching of specialist skills such as Braille, Moon and touch-typing
- Provision of audiological services
- Assessment and ongoing monitoring of developmental needs of children and young people
- Provision of professional development opportunities for school based staff and colleagues from other agencies on all aspects of hearing and visual impairment
- Provision, evaluation, monitoring and maintenance of specialist equipment in schools and emphasis is placed upon equipment which facilitates 'access' to the Northern Ireland Curriculum
- Working with local special schools to optimise development, learning and curriculum access for children and young people with hearing impairment or visual impairment and additional/multiple difficulties.
"All children have the right to the best possible start in life. Where children have special needs and disabilities, it is important that these are identified at an early stage and that identification leads directly to effective early intervention and support for families and children." - Together from the Start (2008)
In line with Board's Mission and Vision Statements, the Sensory Support Service has a clear commitment to the policy of inclusion. Our mission and vision statements are therefore as follows:
- Our mission is to have a high quality, specialised Service which seeks to enable children and young people with a sensory impairment to be independent, to have high self esteem and to be successfully included within the community.
- Our vision is to identify and assess all hearing or visually impaired children and to promote their optimum development in order to maximise their potential. Wherever possible, all pupils should have their needs met within a mainstream school and we aim to achieve this by working effectively with families, pupils and schools.