University of Edinburgh

 SSC Bulletin 18: August 2013

    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 Courses - Coming up ...

    Friday, 1 November 2013

    Social and emotional wellbeing and friendships for children and young people with a visual impairment

    Dr Joao Roe has been a teacher for children and young people with vision impairment for over 20 years and is passionate about inclusion and learning. Dr Roe has done research on peer relationships and play of children with vision impairment and has lectured at universities for over 10 years. This course will aim to develop your understanding of:

    • how social emotional wellbeing and friendships impact on learning;
    • how children and young people with vision impairment develop these skills and what the implications are;
    • why bullying of children and young people with SEN can occur;
    • how professionals can support children and young people by developing strategies, supporting schools/educational settings.

    There will be opportunities to listen, participate in practical activities, share experiences, look at real scenarios and access a number of strategies that can help professionals develop this area.

    Target Audience: Practitioners working with children and young people with a visual impairment: teachers, teaching assistants, care workers, habilitation/mobility officers, educational psychologists, etc.

    Presenter: Dr Joao Roe, Head of Sensory Support Service, Bristol.


    Friday, 8 November 2013

    An introduction to visual impairment and autism in children and young people

    This one-day course provides a description of the nature of autism; the research concerning the co-occurrence of visual impairment and autism; and developmental setback in visually impaired infants.

    There will be a demonstration of the guidance for practitioners developed by the Visual Impairment and Autism Project and discussion of the areas covered: underlying principles, learning, the environment, communication, sensory needs, wellbeing, mobility and independence, and music. There will also be an opportunity to discuss the children and young people the delegates work with.

    Target Audience: Practitioners working with children and young people who are blind or partially sighted, including teachers, teaching assistants, care workers, habilitation/mobility officers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, and educational psychologists. This course should also be valuable to those working with adults who have both visual impairment and autism.

    Presenter: Ian Bell, Independent Specialist Speech & Language Therapist (formerly Leader of the Visual Impairment & Autism Project)


     SSC News

    ICEVI Europe Conference 30th June - 5th July 2013

    Janis Sugden attended this conference in Turkey at the start of the summer. She presented on comparing programmes of standards-based habilitation (mobility, orientation and independence skills) training for habilitation specialists. Several excellent presentations were given, some from colleagues in Scotland, including John Ravenscroft, University of Edinburgh and staff from the Royal Blind School. Many more good contacts were made which we hope will enrich the SSC programme for 2013-14 and beyond!


     "In Other News ..."

    Technology for Life: Smart Thinking Smart Living. 5-6 September 2013 at the Glasgow Science Centre

    Conference presentations will include a number of world-class and innovative presentations including a keynote address by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil MSP. The event will also feature: Tech Market, with a range of exhibitors; Tech Life, demonstration of accessible kitchen/living room; Tech Talk, presentations from expert users and information and advice sessions; Insight Radio: accessible temporary studio; and an Accessible Planetarium show. The conference will be of interest to health and social care, housing, transport, education and leisure providers and those involved in telehealthcare, research, product development and to people using access technology. Book a place at the conference by 28 August 2013, email or phone 0131 652 3140.


    BSL Bill Moves to Next Stage

    Mark Griffin MSP's British Sign Language (BSL) (Scotland) Bill is moving closer to statute after cross-party support was shown by one third of the Parliament's MSPs. In the aftermath of an extensive public consultation, the Bill required the cross-party support of at least 18 MSPs in order to go forward to the Committee Stage (Stage One). To date, 43 MSPs, one third of all MSPs, have signed up to support the Bill far surpassing the original target. The Bill will now be assigned a designated committee by the Parliament's Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick.

    Mark said:
    "BSL is the first language of many Deaf people in Scotland. For a great number it is the only language they have ever known, or ever will know, yet getting access to basic information in BSL is incredibly difficult.
    "My Bill seeks to increase awareness of BSL throughout Scottish society, put pressure on the Government and Scotland's public authorities to develop action plans on improving access to information for Deaf people, and work towards breaking down the barriers facing Scotland's Deaf population on a daily basis."


    New RNIB VI and Autism microsite now live

    RNIB have recently launched a new visual impairment and autism website offering guidance for practitioners who are supporting children and young people who have both visual impairment and an autism spectrum disorder. Visit the new website at:

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    Experience books

    This website offers the opportunity for children with hearing loss to have a book customised about them to help family and friends to understand their individual needs. The 20 page books cost 12.99 plus postage. Customised books are also available for children with autistic spectrum disorders.

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    Play and Learn with Ballyland

    Professor Gordon Dutton has been in touch to tell us about Sonokids Ballyland. It is a fun and educational preschool computer game for all children, including children with special needs. The design specifically supports playful learning by children who are blind or have low vision and/or have additional disabilities.

    Ballyland's 'Any Key Goes' enables children to explore the computer's tactile QWERTY keyboard safely and independently, with engaging sounds, images, stories and songs. Skills developed through play can be used as building blocks for future use of technology. Educators and parents who tried out Ballyland's limited Beta test edition, confirmed the great learning outcomes for vision impaired children playing with Ballyland, including those with additional learning disabilities.

    Visit the website for more information, to download a free, limited trial, or to purchase this unique program ($49 AUD - Australian Dollars). If you have any queries please email:


     Library News

    Teaching STEM subjects to blind or partially sighted students

    This report reviews existing literature on the issues involved in teaching technical subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to blind and partially sighted learners, and signposts key resources.

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    Reasonable Expectations for technology

    This new guidance outlines what a young person should expect when they are going to a new college or university in relation to technology related support. This guidance compiled by JISC TechDis supported by a range of partner organisations including the RNIB, National Union of Students (NUS) Dyslexia Action, British Dyslexia and Call Scotland, gives an overview of what young people should expect, why they should expect it and organisations that can give further support.

  • Also visit the RNIB mini website for a wide range of advice, publications etc on starting University for visually impaired students.