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What we do

Habilitation is a term used to describe the professional support a child or young person who has a vision impairment, receives from a Habilitation Specialist. The support can be direct face-to-face training, or specialist advice to the family or educational setting.

What does Habilitation Support cover?

Habilitation can be broadly split into 4 overlapping categories:

  • Mobility skills - moving around safely, using a white cane, crossing the road, or using public transport.
  • Independence/life skills - eating, dressing, personal grooming, cooking, cleaning, handling money, or organisational skills.
  • Social and emotional skills - peer awareness training, accessible games and sports, communication skills (e.g., using a mobile phone or social media), identifying friends and adults, telling the time, or developing their other senses.
  • Visual strategies - helping a child or young person to utilise any useful vision, understand the space around them or other strategies.

Criteria for involvement

Sensory and Physical Support Service (SPSS) have an open referral system. This means the child, young person, or their family can refer directly to the SPSS. Additionally, the voluntary sector, educational, social care, or health professionals can make a referral for support. However, all referrals must be in the age range of 0 to 16 years or up to 19 years if the young person attends a Derbyshire County Council post-16 provision (not college or university), and they must have had a recent medical appointment within the last 6 months with a medical eye specialist.

Habilitation support is delivered in a similar way to the educational curriculum. This means that face-to-face training, or specialist advice, is at an appropriate age or developmental level and considers a child or young person's individual circumstances and existing skills.

Referral Routes

Once a referral is received, an assessment is undertaken. This can be a combination of informal discussions, observational sessions, a written plan, or report.

Download and complete the 'Habilitation Mobility Referral Form HAB1' found in the 'Related Documents' section of this page.

Sometimes Habilitation training or specialist advice can be undertaken by other local authorities or providers. This will depend on the child or young person's specific needs, their family address or educational setting.

Contact Details

Claire Cotton, Principal Qualified Teacher of Vision Impairment (QTVI)
Telephone: 07816 103135 or 01629 532488 (Term-time only)

Alfreton Office
Sensory and Physical Support Service - Vision Impairment
SEN Support Services
Grange Street
DE55 7JA
Telephone: 01629 532391

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