Campaigning with children and young people

Making childhood equal

Together with Thomas Pocklington Trust, we have investigated the support available for children with sight loss by examining data from local authorities across England. We found that there is an inconsistent approach across the country, and that many children are not being referred to the vital habilitation the support they need.  

Our report ‘Making childhood equal’ sets out clear recommendations for the government and local authorities to ensure that every child with a vision impairment has access to timely habilitation support.  

What is Habilitation? 

Habilitation involves mobility, auditory, orientation and independent living skills. From supporting physical development in the early years, to navigating streets safely, preparing food, handling money, using technology and managing their appearance as they grow older.  

Habilitation ensures that children and young people have strong foundation skills, taught in the early years to empower and enable them to aim high in life and accomplish what they want to achieve.
Guide Dogs Habilitation Services Manager

Using freedom of information requests, we found that the number of children and young people receiving habilitation support is tiny; almost a third of local authorities supported less than 10 children or young people over a 12-month period, and over half (53 per cent) supported 20 or less. 

Local authorities across England deliver very different levels of services, leaving vital support down to a postcode lottery. One local authority provided habilitation support to 3% of the children and young people with vision impairment in their area, and another provided this service to 47%.  

We have made clear recommendations to the government and to local authorities that if implemented would ensure that all children and young people with sight loss receive the specialist support they are entitled to.  

Making childhood equal

Read our 2020 report into habilitation provisions for children and young people with vision impairments  

Back to School

We handed in the Back to School petition with 6616 signatures in to the Department for Education on 27th August 2020.

The petition is calling on the Government to ensure that children with sight loss have the support they need to be able to return to the classroom with confidence.

Thank you to everyone who's supported the campaign so far, we'll keep you updated on how the Government responds.

There’s absolutely no reason why Nell shouldn’t be able to go to school and have all the same experiences as her friends. We just need to develop strategies for different scenarios and make sure her teachers and friends understand them too.
Guide Dogs habilitation specialist, Branwen

Nell and Guide Dogs habilitation worker Branwen

We're here to support children, young people and their families, find out how we can help.

Osahia smiles with her support worker next to her whilst at gymnastics practice

Read our inspirational stories to discover how we have helped children and young people with sight loss.

If you are a parent or guardian of a child with sight loss, please complete our survey about returning to school