University of Edinburgh

Independence through Habilitation

Presented on Friday 27 January 2012

Promoting Independence

Dominic Everett Education and Family Services
RNIB Scotland

The nature of visual impairment

"…any level of visual impairment that has an effect on education, mobility and the ability to live independently."
Quality Standards: Delivery of Habilitation Training, 2011

Promoting Independence

  • Why bother?
  • CFE - 4 capacities
  • Template for Success
  • Every Disabled Child Matters.
  • Being Healthy
  • Being Safe
  • Enjoying and Achieving
  • Making a Positive Contribution
  • Economic Wellbeing

How do we achieve this?

  • Multi-professional approach to the promotion of mobility and independent living.
  • Parental involvement crucial at all stages.
  • Must focus on Home/School /Community approach to training.
  • Be delivered by qualified professionals with recognition of specific needs of CYP; home situation; geographical factors; CYP's interests.

Age and Stage

  • Independent living and mobility skills development should be considered at earliest stage of child development.
  • Constant monitoring and up-skilling as child matures.
  • Recognition of setting


  • Parents often don't know what to do!
  • Need help and encouragement to provide a supportive environment.
  • Home has to be safe.
  • Social, cultural, economic factors need consideration.


Pre-school - support and advice to nursery staff, resources

  • pre-cane mobility training
  • exploration of space through play
  • social skills development
  • listening skills
  • tactile discovery

Transition to Primary

  • Liaison between settings through TVI, visits.
  • Mobility input – orientation exercise.
  • Familiarisation (classroom layout, building, playground, navigation, staff)
  • 'Whole' staff VI awareness crucial!

Primary stage

Ongoing delivery of independence skills important.

  • Mobility should be integral.
  • PE – adaptation and inclusion.
  • School trips – Equality Act
  • Social inclusion – can be managed.
  • Life skills – touch typing, confidence, participation, use of LVAs, ICT.

Transition to Secondary

  • One of the most difficult stages.
  • Mobility preparation
  • Extra visits
  • Peer support
  • Transport
  • Involvement

Secondary stage


Post-16 preparation

  • Independent adulthood
  • Daily Living Skills
  • Independent Learning
  • Travel
  • Managing sight loss