University of Edinburgh

An overview of support

Mary Dallas
Education and Family Services Manager

Presented on Friday 27 February 2009

Health Professionals

  • Ophthalmologist - specialist in eye conditions. Responsible for diagnosis and treatment
  • Orthoptist - eye specialists. They mainly investigate, diagnose and treat eye movement problems.
  • Optometrist - health specialists, trained to examine the eyes to detect signs of injury, disease, abnormality and defects in vision.
  • Community Paediatrician - qualified doctors, who have specialised in child medicine. GPs and health visitors will refer pre-school children to a paediatrician for general assessment. The community paediatrician will monitor overall progress and refer the child on to other expert professionals eg; education, social work sensory support services, speech, occupational or physiotherapy.

Education services

  • Group of teachers who are specially trained to support children who have sight difficulties.
  • Provide information and support from the time your child is diagnosed as having sight difficulties even if this is at birth
  • Provide advice on early stimulation, suitable play materials and support you with suitable nursery and school placements.

Social Work

  • Social Work services can provide information and advice on benefits, aids and adaptations
  • They have specifically trained workers who can give advice on mobility skills and provide assistance in developing independent living skills

Organisations that give support

  • Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Scotland
  • Education and Family Services Department promotes the interests of children and young people with sight problems.
  • We work with children and their families throughout Scotland.

Education and Family Services department

  • We provide information and advice to parents, home-visits, supported family events and advice on local and national support networks.
  • We also provide conciliation and mediation services to assist parents in expressing their views with education, health and social work professionals.

Website for Parents

Our Parents' Place website ( is a safe place to meet other parents, pick up tips and advice, and get information about health, rights and services.

National Blind Children's Society (NBCS)

  • Holidays & Activities - giving visually impaired children the opportunity to participate with fully sighted children in a programme of recreational activities. A choice of family weekends and activity days.
  • Family Support and Information - offering a comprehensive, holistic approach at the time of diagnosis and throughout the child's life.

Complex Needs

  • Enable Scotland a dynamic charity run by its members. We campaign for a better life for children and adults with learning disabilities
  • Capability Scotland works with disabled people of all ages and their families and carers throughout Scotland.
  • PAMIS The organisation in Scotland working with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, their family carers and professionals who support them.
  • The Family Fund give grants for things such as washing machines, driving lessons, hospital visiting costs, computers and holidays.
  • Sense Scotland uniquely supports deafblind and disabled children right through to adulthood. We visit families to develop individual communications programmes for children and ...


  • Vision Aid is a national charity based in Bolton helping the families of children with sight problems. Provide a toy loan.
  • Contact a Family Scotland provides information, advice and support to families of disabled children.
  • Victa - Visually Impaired Children Taking Action. Victa provides support for visually impaired children and their families. Our main aim is to work towards parents obtaining early diagnosis, correct medical treatment and the best social and educational support so that our children can reach their full potential.
  • LOOK UK Support for the Visually Impaired So you have a million questions? We'd like to help you and your child with a visual impairment. The Enquiry Service provides practical advice and emotional support, information about your child's condition and contacting other families with similar problems.


  • Visual Impairment Scotland
  • Specific eye conditions website

Resources and Strategies

  • Resources for parents of Blind Children
    A site developed by parents themselves - We've spent a lot of time on the internet looking for resources for our blind child. Here, you;ll find all the websites and organisations that we felt were the very best and most helpful.
  • The Royal Blind School Edinburgh
    Playgroup on a Friday morning for children aged 0 - 2 years. Scotland wide.