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SSC - Scottish Sensory Centre

SSC Bulletin: February 2020

Sharing information with everyone who is involved in the education of deaf children, deafblind children and visually impaired children and young people, the young people themselves and their families.

SSC News

Books and Papers

Professor Ravenscroft has been busy and last year saw the publication of The Routledge Handbook of Visual Impairment, edited by John Ravenscroft.

The handbook is divided into ten thematic areas, "in order to represent the wide range of debates and concepts within visual impairment" including: cerebral visual impairment; education; sport and physical exercise; assistive technology; understanding the cultural aesthetics; socio-emotional and sexual aspects of visual impairment; orientation, mobility, habitation, and rehabilitation; recent advances in "eye" research and sensory substitution devices; ageing and adulthood.

Co-authored with a range of well-known names including Elizabeth McCann, he has also published a new article for the next issue of the BJVI on Promoting a balanced early years curriculum for young children with vision impairment which looks at fostering independence in children with visual impairments from an early age

Inset delivery

SSC team are developing delivering training as part of Local Authority Inset days. While there are obvious benefits to this approach, such as, saving on travel and classroom cover. A holistic approach can be extremely beneficial to larger groups of school or service staff.

We would be happy to hear from schools and services who would like to address their training needs in this format. Please let us know if you have specific topics you would like to explore.

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Braille Course

Exciting news! We have secured permission from two of Scotland's leading authors - Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin - to use their texts in the Braille Competency course. So we will be working hard to incorporate those texts into the course as quickly as possible.

See below for more about this course.

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SSC is a national centre funded by the Scottish Government (Learning Directorate, Support and Wellbeing) based at the University of Edinburgh.


The READY study - deaf young people becoming adults

READY stands for Recording Emergent Adulthood in Deaf Youth. This ambitious research programme is running in partnership with the University of Manchester where Professor Alys Young is the Principal Investigator. We are aiming to find over 500 deaf young people from England, Scotland and Wales. We are asking the young people to make independent contact with our website using this form: We are interested in all levels of deafness, from young people who are unilaterally deaf to those who are profoundly deaf in both ears, and we include young deaf people who may have other impairments. You will see that the form is available in English, BSL, Sign supported spoken English, Welsh and Sign supported spoken Welsh. If the young person matches the requirements of the study, they will receive an annual online questionnaire which they can use any of these languages or modes to complete. A sample of 50 young people per year will also be interviewed. Young people receive a £10 Amazon voucher each year for completing the survey. If they also agree to be interviewed, they will receive a £20 voucher.

Five hundred young people is a very ambitious target! We are now in discussion with the funder, NDCS, about extending the recruitment of cohort 1 to the end of June 2020, and to start a new cohort 2. We are also extending the age range of people for joining the study to be from 16 to 19. This means you may know of other young deaf people who you can now encourage to join.

Here is the project website:

We will be investigating what leads to the best outcomes for young deaf people in terms of educational achievements, work, success at college and university, sense of self-esteem and mental wellbeing. If we gain the right number of young people in the study (we are aiming to be as representative of all deaf young people as possible), then we should be able to find conclusions which are useful to schools, colleges and other agencies working with deaf young people about what factors lead to the most success.

At the University of Edinburgh, Rachel O'Neill is a co-investigator and Christine Mackintosh is a PhD student and Study Co-ordinator for the project. Christine has started a 6-year part-time PhD with the project. Her role in the project is to co-ordinate the 7 young deaf co-enquirers who we have trained in interviewing skills. They will be leading the interviews with support from the two PhD students.

Please do get in touch with the project if you have any questions. Would you like to give out leaflets or put out a poster about the project? Please contact us. Do you know of any young people who have left your service but you are still in touch with them? Please do activate your contacts!

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It would be very helpful if you can like our social media pages and link them to your own social media too. Thank you for your work so far. You can see from the map from 21st January that we have a long way to go in Scotland. The red dots mean young people who have signed up and are eligible but have not yet completed the half-hour survey. The green dots are young people who have completed.

Let us know at the University of Edinburgh if you would like one of us to talk to deaf young people in your area.

Rachel O'Neill, Co-investigator and Chris Macintosh, READY study co-ordinator - Longitudinal study of deaf young people aged 16 to 23 - The READY Study

Interested in taking part?

Email: Tel: 0131 651 6429

Email: Tel: 07565 527390

Email the Ready Study Follow the Ready Study on Twitter Find the Ready Study on Facebook Follow the Ready Study on Instagram


Map of respondents already contacting the Ready Study
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SSC Courses

Coming up ...

We have other courses planned. Keep checking the full list on the website for forthcoming courses:

Join the SSC Workshops mailing list to receive notifications straight to your inbox.

SSC Unified English Braille Competency Courses

NB The Braille courses are workbook-based courses that require manual use of a Perkins Brailler so that participants can both understand and produce braille materials. 'Contracted braille' uses short forms of words to allow ease and speed of reading whereas 'Uncontracted braille' translates the text letter by letter. Also, the courses run continuously for 18 months and 3 months respectively - holidays are not factored into the timetable so time management is important.


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Other News

NATSIP Sensory Learning Hub

NATSIP (National Sensory Impairment Partnership) have developed the Sensory Learning Hub, which includes a "What works" database of resources. The database can be searched with useful filters, eg type of sensory-impairment, age range, and topic categories. As it has been developed by educators in England, some resources may be less useful in the Scottish context

More content is available to those who register (for free). Members are encouraged to submit useful resources, which will be peer-reviewed for quality and usefulness.

Try it out at:

ICEVI Math made easy: YouTube Channel

ICEVI have created a series of instructional videos on mathematics education for visually impaired children. So far there are playlists of videos on topics such as Numbers, Trigonometry, Geometry, and Algebra.

Teachers should find these instructional videos useful to make mathematics easy for visually impaired children. The team hope that more videos will be uploaded on regular basis.

You can access and subscribe to the channel:

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Web and Resources News


This session you may have noticed some changes to the SSC website. We have been working hard to update it to be more user-friendly and mobile device accessible.

Please let us know what you think and if you find any glitches!


We have acquired new items for the library:

New Book covers

The SSC library is open to anyone who has an interest in children with visual impairment or who are deaf, we can send materials to anywhere in the UK.

Tip: Remember to check the journal articles database when searching for information.

New library items are available to browse on the website:

All of these items and many more are available from the SSC Library contact Sheila Mackenzie (0131 651 6069 or



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Scottish Sensory Centre, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ