University of Edinburgh

Habilitation in the Early Years (0-8)

Presented on Tuesday, 25th April 2017


Habilitation is the process of helping children and young people with visual impairment achieve as much independence as possible in their daily lives. 80% of learning is derived from vision therefore a child with visual impairment needs to be taught skills and concepts that a sighted child would acquire naturally by observation and imitation. Habilitation in the early years is required to encourage children to become successful and independent young people and adults.

The course programme included:

  • The role of the Habilitation Specialist in the Early Years.
  • How other practitioners and professionals can support and facilitate Habilitation in the Early Years.
  • Holistic approaches.
  • The use of appropriate, learning resources, toys and equipment.
  • Legislation, guidance, good practice guides and assessment tools.
  • Evidence-based Practices.
  • Empowering families to promote independence.

Participants said:

"I will use as much of the course as possible, as it was fab."

"The course has made me think in a different way about the approach I need when working with children, and has given me some good ideas on this."

Target Audience

All those supporting children and young people with a visual impairment including teachers, support staff, rehabilitation specialists, habilitation specialists, early years practitioners, early years workers, allied health professionals and parents.


Grant Smith, Mobility Instructor for Children & Young People and Lisa Petrie, Service Delivery Manager/Senior Practitioner for Children & Young People, Guide Dogs.