We have two qualified mobility and habilitation specialists in our team. They work closely with the parent/carer, QTVI, nursery and other agencies to assess if a child/young person will require mobility support.
When needed they will develop a plan to support the learning of Mobility/Movement Skills including:
moving around home or nursery safely to avoid obstacles
negotiating space successfully
adjusting speed or direction to avoid obstacles
walking up and down stairs
locating a variety of rooms within home/nursery
They also identify any gaps in age appropriate Independent Living Skills (ILS) such as:
dressing and undressing with minimal help
using both hands together
washing and drying hands
brushing own teeth
using a spoon and fork to self-feed
beginning to eat independently
Our mobility and habilitation specialists can look at the home, nursery, preschool or foundation stage buildings (inside and outside) to identify any areas which might be potentially challenging for a baby or young person with a vision impairment to navigate. Environments may present a health and safety risk such as trip hazards, low contrast door frames, unmarked pillars, stairs or changes in levels not clearly marked.
Workshops and parties
The team hold regular workshops and parties for the children and young people on our caseload. For students aged 6-12 years we have Easter and Halloween parties and these fun packed days bring the children together to learn important life skills by preparing their own lunches and taking part in a variety of games to challenge their fine and gross motor skills.
The children have an opportunity to mix in a peer group where everyone has a Vision Impairment instead of being the only one in the group with an additional need. For some children it will be the first time they have met other children with a vision impairment, over the years we have seen some lovely friendships develop.
Best Easter party ever!
I like all the food best, especially my cakes!
We hold workshops for older students, the first is held in the February half term when older students are invited to our employment workshops. A variety of organisations attend these days to advise on job opportunities and further education options, cv writing and interview skills are an integral part of the day. These workshops also provide the young people with that invaluable social contact within a supportive peer group, often providing that first opportunity to talk about their vision Impairment and find out what has worked well for them at home and school and share aspirations for the future.
I have made lots of new friends today!
Can I come back next year?
During the summer break workshops have a more relaxed and socially focused theme. The young people will be invited to come along and meet other students and work together to prepare a delicious lunch to share lasting friendships are often formed at these events.
Mental health and wellbeing
Having targeted intervention from the specialist team, supports the children and young people across all of the 7 areas of the Dorset Children, Young People and Families Mental Health Checklist.
The parties and workshops are one area where this is clearly evidenced as the children and young people have an opportunity to build relationships with other children and young people who also have a vision impairment. They can relax in a supportive peer group where they work together to prepare their own lunches, making decisions about what they would like to eat, they work together to clear up and take part in games and fun activities that challenge their problem solving skills. We see supportive friendships being made at these events.
ASDAN, are a curriculum development and awarding organisation providing programmes and qualifications that help young people develop skills for learning work and life.
VSS are able to offer some of our students courses that are affiliated with ASDAN in Independent Living Skills (ILS). This includes meal preparation, cooking and shopping, as well as money management and using transport.