Children in Focus

As part of our Children in Focus Campaign, SeeAbility has been delivering sight tests and dispensing glasses in nine special schools in London, Buckinghamshire and County Durham. 

Sight is very important to a child’s learning and development, and early eye care can prevent more serious sight problems later on. Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children but are often not accessing the eye care they need. We found over four in ten pupils had no history of sight tests or eye care, and yet half of the children we have seen have had a problem with their eyes or vision.

We also found 85% of children with disabilities who had been under the care of hospital eye clinics and were now discharged, had no history of follow up sight tests in the community.  

Our research shows that thousands of children with disabilities across the country are missing out on the eye care they need. There is no national plan to meet their eye care needs. Our model of special school sight testing is based on the 'Framework for the provision of eye care in special schools in England' paper, written in collaboration with the country's optical bodies. You can read more this paper, and our latest annual report and findings in 2017, on our Children in Focus Campaign page.

We are only able to do this critical work through fundraised and granted income. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, NHS England and the Department of Health we are able to continue campaigning for national change. Please go to our donate page and make a real lasting difference to children with learning disabilities in this country.

We want specialist sight tests available in every special school in England. 

 

Schools we have worked in

Since the start of the school year in 2013 SeeAbility's specialist team has been working in a number of special schools. We have delivered sight tests in the following schools:

SeeAbility only works in a selection of special schools as part of our Children in Focus Campaign, which is gathering evidence to support the need for a national programme of school sight testing. We have now carried out over 1,000 sight tests!

Lisa gives Nasir from The Village School a specialist sight test

 

The team

Optometrist: they carry out the sight test using a range of equipment suitable for children with disabilities, check the health of the eyes, prescribe glasses when needed and make referrals to other professionals.

Orthoptist: they see all the new four to five-year-olds starting in reception and do a joint assessment with the optometrist to check for squints and lazy eyes.

Dispensing optician: they chaperone the optometrist and measure for and fit any glasses that are needed, undertake repairs and also give advice on helping children to wear their glasses.

 

Our stories

Read about some of the children we have given sight tests to and the difference we have made to their lives:

Brandon's story
Estera's story
Lana's story
Nasir's story
Nathaniel's story

 

Contact

SeeAbility would love to hear from areas that have or are setting up similar services. We are also keen to hear from those struggling to set up something like this.

For more information on our work in special schools, contact Lisa Donaldson (Clinical Lead - Children in Focus) on 07899 975 143 or email: [email protected]

Or Laura Christie (National Manager - Children and Families) on 0161 748 6107 or email: [email protected]

Or Noopur Patel (Optometry Clinic Manager) on 01372 755 068 or [email protected]