Conference 2014

 VIEW National Conference/Professional Development Event 2014

The UK’s main residential conference organised by and for teachers of children and young people with visual impairment

this, our best ever attended conference, was held on Thursday 13 & Friday 14 March 2014

at the Strathallan Hotel, Birmingham

Updates from the floor included the following:

From Heidi Lyon, Guidedogs
1. Movement Matters
This is a new habilitation service being rolled out slowly in a number of areas across the United Kingdom. Qualified staff work with Local Authorities and other organisations to provide expert assessment and habilitation services to children and young people from birth to age 25.
Movement Matters also includes support and training for parents, carers and professionals.
We’ll make sure we keep learning from each other and, together, offer high quality services which make life-changing differences to visually impaired children and their families. Our aim is to assist and augment existing services by working shoulder to shoulder with other organisations.
Funding Movement Matters
Habilitation assessments and services can be accessed in a range of ways, through contracts via education, social care or health. Services can be delivered by permanent contract, through spot purchasing, through personal budgets or directly to children and their families. In all cases, services are delivered in communication with Local Authorities.
In order to provide a sustainable service we need to recover our costs, but cost should not be a barrier to any child receiving the support they need.
 2. National Blind Children’s Society (NBCS)
- part of the Guide Dogs Group.
Please follow the link for further information on our children’s services, links to your local mobility teams and the NBCS website.

From Judy Bell, Consultant
1. SeeAbility is conducting a scoping survey to determine how the organisation might best support the transition into adulthood of young people who have visual impairment and complex needs. To take part in the survey, please contact Judy Bell:
2. In January, SeeAbility sent out a questionnaire about eye care to every special school in England.  Many schools have not yet responded. If you are involved with a special school, please urge the management to return the questionnaire. Even a partial response will be helpful. The accompanying  letter is headed ‘Children in Focus: Eyecare & vision services for children and young people in special schools’. For further information, email Nathan Davies:
3. A Clinical Excellence Network on communication in children and young people who have visual impairment or multisensory impairment has been set up under the aegis of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. Membership (£20 including free attendance at two professional development days/year) is open to anyone with an interest in this field. The next meeting is on 29th April in Bristol & includes topics on Sense’s ‘Tuning In’ programme & the role of music in promoting communication. For further information contact Denise Charnock or look at

From Laura Matz, Perkins Institute

1. SMART Brailler at  – a mechanical brailler which has an LED screen attached which provides instantaneous audio and visual feedback, thus making the process of learning braille much easier for kids, parents, TVI’s, adults in rehab, etc.
2. LightAide at – Bright and engaging, the LightAide™ creates a variety of interactive displays of color that support core learning goals and help instill the building blocks of literacy and mathematical concepts in learners with low vision, cognitive disabilities and other special needs.
3. ZoomCapture at – enables low vision students and professionals to zoom in on lectures, presentations, demonstrations and take synchronized notes, screenshots and audio for playback..

From Maurice Sparrow, Westminster VI Service

A provider of specialist training for London Boroughs and nationally
Queen Elizabeth 11 Jubilee School, Kennet Road, London, W9 3LG Tel: 020 7641 5825
FRIDAY 16TH MAY 2014 – 9.30 – 4.00
Access & Inclusion Centre, Queen Elizabeth II School, Kennet Rd, London, W9 3LG
• Paediatric Ophthalmologist over 20 years at the Royal Hospital for Sick
Children, Glasgow
Cost: £50.00 for the whole day. Lunch is provided.
• Emeritus Professor of Visual Science at Glasgow Caledonian University
For more information and to book places:
• Visual impairment associated with disorders of the brain is the commonest cause of low vision in the developed world.
• Yet the subject is complex, can be difficult to understand, and the approaches taken are best matched to the nature of the intact abilities of each child.
• The aim of this course is to teach a model of thinking that:
o Explains how the brain is understood to ‘see’
o Describes the range of visual disabilities that can arise when the brain is damaged
o Discusses how to take a detailed visual history from families, and assess the child to determine abilities and strengths as well visual limitations
o Explains the principles of working within the child’s limitations to employ abilities and strengths to best advantage
Tel: 0207 641 5825 Email:
• Anyone in the health service – OTs, Physios, pediatricians, ophthalmologists, optometrists
• Teachers of children with visual impairment especially CVI, cerebral palsy, Downs syndrome
• Parents of children with brain damage and vision impairment
professionals to zoom in on lectures, presentations, demonstrations and take synchronized notes, screenshots and audio for playback.

More updates will be added as they are received from conference delegates.

Conference Programme was as follows.  Presentations to be added shortly.

Thursday 13th March

 11.00             Welcome   Rory Cobb, Conference Chair

11.15              Policy update Christopher Robertson, Lecturer in Inclusive and Special Education, University of Birmingham

 11.45           Implications for the VI sector  Julie Jennings, Manager, RNIB Children’s Team

 12.15         Cognitive ability testing for children with vision impairment  Simon Ungar, Educational Psychologist, Wandsworth

 1.00            Lunch

 2.00             VI provision – the perspective of a blind parent    Mark Turnham

2.30            Life after school – moving into adulthood  Graeme Douglas, Senior Research Fellow, Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research, University of Birmingham.

3.00            Break

 3.10           Let’s Start a Dialogue- Are children getting the support they need?  Sue Keil, Research Officer, RNIB and Sue Wright, Head of Children, Young People and Family service, Action for Blind People.

3.50            Tea

 4.20            Development work in VIEW  Janet Cuthbert, Communications Officer, VIEW

 4.30            Updates from the field

5.30            VIEW AGM

6.30            Exhibition and wine reception

 8.00            Gala Dinner


Friday 14th March

9.00            Introduction

9.10            Developments in paediatric optometry  Bill Harvey, Clinical Editor, Optician Journal

10.00         Promoting independence and the role of teaching assistants  Elizabeth Clery, Team Leader, Brent Sensory Support Service

 10.30         Workshops  Session 1

A.  Consulting with children and parents .  Sue Keil, RNIB

B.  How to assess vision response in children.  Bill Harvey

C.  IPads in the classroom .  Matthew Carr, Blindability

D.  Adjusting to sight loss.  Gail Bailey, Educational Psychologist

E.  Cerebral visual impairment.  Janet Harwood, QTVI and Co-ordinator of the UK special interest group on CVI.

11.30           Coffee

12.00          Workshops session 2    

1.00            Lunch

 2.00          Journeying through life with sight loss propelled by technology  Neil Heslop,Group Director, RNIB Solutions and co-founder of Blind in Business

2.50            Summing up

3.00            Close