Referral Process

Most referrals to the VI team are made by Ophthalmologists or via local Health Services.  The VI team maintains good links with Eye Consultants, Mobility Officers, Orthoptists and Qualified Teachers of the Visually Impaired in Bedford, Luton and Dunstable.  These links mean that they are usually informed about a child with a visual impairment soon after diagnosis.

Schools and pre-school groups, and parents/carers can also make referrals to the VI team.  Referrals can be made by the completion of a VI referral form, signed by a parent/carer, and the form together with information about the reasons for referral sent directly to the team.  Forms are available from the VI team by email or post.  Referrals should contain medical information about the child's eye condition and vision, and have parent/carer consent.  All referrals, provided they meet the criteria, are then allocated to a VI teacher.

The referrer will be contacted by the VI teacher within two working weeks.  The VI teacher will make an appointment to see the child.  If the child is attending school, a lesson observation will be conducted and also a functional vision assessment.  The assessment used will vary depending on the child's age, needs and reading skill, and the VI teacher will use various strategies to assess functional vision, including standardised distance/near vision assessment tests. 

The results of this assessment, together with any information from the Ophthalmologist, the school, the parents/carers and if appropriate the views of the child, are used to make recommendations for the type of support that will be needed in order for the child to visually access the curriculum successfully.  These recommendations will be documented in a report which is usually sent out within 14 days of the completed assessment.

If necessary, the child will be referred by the VI Teacher to a Social Services Mobility/Rehabilitation Officer.  The VI team works closely with mobility officers and the child to teach daily living and mobility skills, including routes to and from school, around school, and in the local area.

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