Section 4 - Transition from Home to Pre-School Education
As your visually impaired child develops in infancy, he will benefit from play that makes him use what vision he has and/or from things that are interesting to touch. This will develop his sense of what he sees around him, and make it easier for him to understand the world around him. It will, therefore, be your responsibility to try and find things that will stimulate his vision at the earliest possible stage, which will be a great help for him later on in life. Most learning takes place at home, and children learn from their parents. If you are not already in contact with education services in your area, you can do so through a Health Visitor. Your child will then be visited by a Home Teacher, who will provide help and advice on the best way to care for and teach an infant with a visual loss and/or other additional needs.
For most visually impaired children, the first taste of formal education takes place at the nursery stage. When it is time for your child to attend nursery, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) will work alongside nursery staff to make sure that your child gets the best education possible as well as give advice and support to people who often have little or no experience of teaching children with such a specific difficulty.
There are many things you may wish to think about when your child moves from home to pre-school.
- As your child moves to nursery, he is leaving behind an environment
that you know is safe and secure for him.
- Your child will be learning to deal with other children and adults
who are unfamiliar to him.
- Families have to learn about the educational process that their child
will be going through. Can the child read the books, see the blackboard
and so on? What help will be provided to meet the additional support
needs of your child?
- You will be forced to learn a whole new ‘language’ concerning special education. You may have to become more familiar with policies and procedures; deal with a range of professionals; and become swamped by countless rules and regulations.
Although this list may appear daunting initially, the movement of your child from home to nursery should in fact be relatively straightforward.
- Between 0-36 months - A TVI will contact you before your child
starts Nursery. They may visit your home to discuss which type of Nursery will best suit your child’s needs and to offer help and advice regards play at home.
- May (just before August start date) - Your child will be discussed at PRESCAT (Pre-school Assessment Team) - or its equivalent depending on where you live in Scotland. Please note in some authorities there is no PRESCAT. These meetings are formal group sessions involving all the professionals who work together to provide visual impairment services within an education authority. It will include the TVI; Educational Psychologist, Health workers, Mobility specialists, please note that even where these meetings exist the make-up of members varies greatly.
Although Parents/Carers do not USUALLY attend these meetings, (they do in some cases and areas) PRESCAT is obliged to look at the full range of schools and the various levels of support available to your child. Parents/Carers will be included in the decision-making process and a transition plan for your child will be made.
Points to consider:
- Before your child attends nursery, it would be advisable to visit
several nurseries in your home area to decide on their suitability for
your child; to meet the staff and to get to know what your child will
be see in his pre-school years.
- It may be important to organise transport; if the additional support required for your child is not available in your immediate home area.