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Encouraging news for blind children in England

15 May 2014

Guide Dogs welcomes proposed government guidance which will call on local authorities to provide movement and independent living skills training, called habilitation, to local children and young people with sight loss. The change to the guidance follows a consultation submission from Guide Dogs which called for this vital service to be referenced. Habilitation is not currently available for all children and young people with sight loss.

Habilitation enables children and young people to fully take part in school, to get around their homes, to learn to catch the bus and is crucial in their journey towards independence and adulthood.

At the moment not enough children and young people with sight loss are accessing good quality habilitation training, and many aren’t getting any support with movement skills until they are adults. This is leading to many children and young people being socially excluded and not being able to reach their potential.

The Guidance, called the Code of Practice, outlines what steps local authorities need to take to implement the Children and Families Act. The Act reforms the Special Educational Need and Disability systems in England.  The changes, rolling out in autumn 2014, will see a number of new duties on local authorities including the duty to publish information for families about what services for disabled children are available locally in a document called the ‘Local Offer’.

If you want to find out more, or help us campaign on behalf of blind children across the UK, please email campaigns@guidedogs.org.uk