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Visual Impairment :
Special Educational Needs
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Many people have some problems with their vision, but most can be corrected using glasses, contact lenses or through surgery, such as laser treatment. Visual impairment refers to conditions which result in the person experiencing some degree of sight loss which cannot be corrected by these methods. The number of people in Britain who are visually impaired is probably about 2 million, but in most of these the visual impairment is not severe. The number registered as being visually impaired is about 300,000, of which 143,000 are registered as severely visually impaired/blind, with many of these being age-related.

There are approximately 10,000 children in Britain under the age of 17 who are registered as being sight impaired, and of these about 4,250 are registered as being severely visually impaired/blind, with 3,500 being of school age (NHS Information Centre). As there are over 30,000 schools in the UK, it is unusual for any school to have any significant experience or expertise in educating children whose visual impairment creates a serious barrier to their learning and progress.

The aim of this web-site is to provide information to anyone involved with a visually impaired child about sight and vision. Understanding how we see enables us to understand the nature of a particular type of visual impairment and its effects on the individual. From this we can determine how the child can be supported in school, i.e. individual assistance, specialist training, curriculum modification, assistive technology etc., and ensure that the provision specified in the child’s education, health and care plan (EHCP) is sufficient to meet the child’s special educational needs and overcome the barriers to learning that can result from visually impairment.


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