Royal Blind School

43 Canaan Lane

Edinburgh

EH10 4SG

Tel: 0131 446 3120

Fax: 0131 447 9266

office@royalblindschool.org.uk

 

 

Education support for East Lothian Council

We established the East Lothian Vision Impairment Service (ELVIS) in August 2017 after the Royal Blind School successfully tendered to deliver the specialist provision for children and young people with vision impairments in East Lothian.

The service works with NHS Lothian and third sector organisations to provide the best possible support for blind and partially sighted pupils in mainstream education. Our Qualified Teachers of Vision Impairment (QTVIs) work with local authority staff to ensure there is a deeper understanding of vision impairment, and help implement strategies and resources required to maximise pupil access to the curriculum and improve social inclusion.

Parents and carers are supported through training and regular contact. The service works with a wide age range of pupils across Primary, Secondary and Additional Support Needs schools. The partnership working and early intervention strategies have resulted in pupils, teachers and parents feeling better equipped, with a deeper understanding of how successful inclusion can improve pupils’ lives. 

Case study: Chris

Chris, aged 11, was one of the first pupils to be supported by ELVIS. His deteriorating vision had left him worried about the future and struggling to keep up with his schoolwork.  Now, in addition to one-to-one support provided in school, he is supported four days per week by his ELVIS teachers, is learning Braille, and has regained his confidence.

Chris smiles for the cameraChris’ mum Heather, said: “The difference in Chris in just a year has been amazing.  He has two very dedicated, knowledgeable and very professional members of the ELVIS staff team.  It was recognised that there was a need for Chris to learn Braille before starting high school and knew that time was a factor so everything was in place very quickly and he was up and running in no time.  They provide support by adapting materials for Chris and ensuring he is able to fully access his classes as well as his sighted classmates can. 

“The year before ELVIS, Chris’ sight had deteriorated quite quickly and he had no confidence whatsoever.  We were all really struggling.  His sight loss was impacting on absolutely everything. He was constantly worrying about the future.  He wasn’t able to keep up with his schoolwork and he would say over breakfast that he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get a job and be able to afford nice food – huge worries for such a young child.  Things had gotten so bad he was attending counselling.

“Now, it’s just about a year later and Chris is reading Braille which he had never done before.  He has taken to it so quickly and seems to really enjoy reading.  His confidence is back and he is like a different child.  He is happy to go out and play with his friends again and he has stopped worrying about the future.  He is doing really well at school, his performance has picked up across the curriculum and he is happier making his way around independently.

“His one-to-one support in school is great and if anything comes up that they think Chris might struggle with, his ELVIS teachers are able to suggest adaptations to class materials so he can keep up with his peers. Also through ELVIS, we were put in touch with habilitation specialists who have carried out assessment and training with Chris and he's now fairly competent with his long cane.

“Since ELVIS have become involved, he feels able, more equipped and ready to tackle any challenge that might come his way.  It's difficult to express in words how grateful I am of this partnership between ELVIS and East Lothian Council.”