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Multi-sensory impairment support

Multi-sensory impairment support

Multi-sensory support impact on learning, what support is available for children and young people with a multi-sensory impairment.

How multi-sensory impairment can impact learning

For children and young people with combined vision and hearing impairment, neither sense can compensate for the lack of the other. 

The access to clear and consistent flow of visual and auditory information necessary for learning, communication, interaction and overall development is reduced. Incidental learning may be limited. 

Children and young people with multi-sensory impairment may also have additional disabilities such as: 

  • further sensory impairments, for example of touch, balance or smell
  • physical disabilities
  • complex medical needs
  • learning difficulties

These will all compound their needs to access learning.

What support is available

Children and young people with multi-sensory impairment need support to meet their individual needs. This will include a combination of the support and provision under Vision Support or Hearing Support. 

Children and young people with multi-sensory impairment may be supported by a range of professionals from the Sensory Support Service. This will depend on their needs and may change over time. 

For example, support could be provided by: 

  • a specialist teacher in multi-sensory impairment (MSI teacher)
  • a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD)
  • a Qualified Teacher for the Visually Impaired (QTVI)

Often these teachers will work together.

The level of support provided by each professional: 

  • may be different from each other 
  • may vary over time to address specific needs, for example, establishing the use hearing aids

It’s important to work holistically, as a multi-disciplinary team, to improve access to education alongside health and social care.

Professionals from the Sensory Support Service will work with families and other professionals involved with the child or young person with multi-sensory impairment.
 

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