Skip to content ↓

Dual sensory impairment

Guidance for Children and Young People with Dual Sensory Impairment*

 

How to use this Guidance

 

Identifying range

 

  1. Read the descriptors on the next page of this document (Overview of Ranges), to identify which range best describes your child.
  2. To find out the provision recommended at the range you have identified go to the appropriate full page range description. Using that information, think about how the child’s individual profile affects their access to the curriculum and school life. These statements support a decision about whether the pupil is mildly, moderately or severely affected and give guidance about how contexts and support needed affect placement at a particular range.
  3. Steps 1 and 2 above should enable professionals to make a judgement about which range the child is at currently. It is important to recognise that these ranges can alter either because the pupil’s profile may change or because of other changes such as at times of transition/school placement.

 

Using the Guidance to Support Learning

 

  1. Once the range has been established professionals will be given advice about how to support the learning of children and young people with a dual sensory impairment at each range.
  2. Quality First Teaching will provide a firm basis upon which to use the additional strategies identified at each range. Strategies and advice from earlier ranges need to be utilised as well as more specialised information as the ranges increase.

 

 

 

*Dual sensory impairment may also be referred to as multi-sensory impairment or deafblindness

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dual Sensory Impairment Guidance

Range Descriptors Overview

Range 3

  • Mild loss in both and making good use of at least one modality
  • May have hearing aids and/or LVAs
  • Non-progressive condition
  • May have a slower pace of working but has good compensatory strategies
  • May have some difficulty with listening, attention and concentration but language and communication largely matches potential given appropriate support
  • Low level of support needed to manage equipment and aids
  • May have additional learning needs

May have Auditory Processing Disorder/Auditory Neuropathy/Cerebral Visual Impairment

Range 4

  • Moderate loss in one modality and mild/moderate in the other
  • May have hearing aids and/or LVAs
  • Non-progressive condition
  • May have additional language/learning needs associated with dual sensory impairment
  • Likely to have difficulties accessing incidental learning, including signed and verbal communication
  • May have a slower pace of learning, difficulties with attention, concentration and the development of independence and social skills
  • May have additional learning needs

May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

Range 5

  • Severe/profound loss in one modality and moderate in the other or has a late diagnosed or recently acquired MSI
  • Uses hearing aids and/or LVAs
  • Non-progressive condition
  • May have delayed development in some areas of learning and difficulties generalising learning and transferring skills
  • May have difficulties coping with new experiences and have underdeveloped independence and self-help skills
  • Likely to have communication difficulties
  • Significant difficulties accessing incidental learning and the curriculum
  • Likely to require some individual support to access learning and social interactions and to develop life-skills
  • Likely to require a tactile approach to learning with access to real objects and context-based learning experiences and/or access to visual or tactile signed communication
  • Significant difficulties with attention, concentration, confidence and class participation
  • Significantly slower pace of learning
  • May have additional learning needs

May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

Range 6

  • Severe/profound loss in one modality and moderate/severe in the other and/or progressive condition
  • Likely to use hearing aids and/or LVA’s
  • Severe communication difficulties requiring an individual communication system using alternative and augmentative approaches
  • Require a tactile approach to learning with access to real objects and context-based learning experiences and/or access to visual or tactile signed communication
  • Have severe difficulties generalising learning and transferring skills
  • Difficulties coping with new experiences
  • Have underdeveloped independence and self-help skills
  • Have difficulties developing relationships and lack social awareness leading to social isolation
  • Likely to require a high level of individual support to access learning and social opportunities and to develop life-skills
  • May display challenging and/or self-injurious behaviour
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have limited clinical assessment information because of additional complex educational needs

May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

Range 7

  • Severe/profound loss in both modalities
  • Likely to use hearing aids and/or LVA’s
  • Severe and complex communication difficulties requiring an individual communication system using alternative and augmentative approaches
  • Severely restricted access to incidental learning
  • Require a tactile and experiential approach to learning and individual curriculum and/or access to visual or tactile signed communication
  • Require individual support with most aspects of basic care needs and to access learning and social opportunities
  • May lack the strategies and motivation to make effective use of residual hearing and vision and require sensory stimulation programmes
  • May be tactile defensive/selective and highly wary of new experiences
  • Have difficulties developing relationships and lack social awareness leading to social isolation
  • May display challenging and/or self-injurious behaviour
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have limited clinical assessment information because of additional complex educational needs

May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

 

 

 

Multi-Sensory Impairment Range : 3

Descriptor

  • Mild loss in both and making good use of at least one modality
  • May have hearing aids and/or LVAs
  • Non-progressive condition
  • May have a slower pace of working but has good compensatory strategies
  • May have some difficulty with listening, attention and concentration but language and communication largely matches potential given appropriate support
  • Low level of support needed to manage equipment and aids
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have Auditory Processing Disorder/Auditory Neuropathy/Cerebral Visual Impairment

 

School Provision

Local Authority Provision

Assessment and Planning

  • Part of school and class assessment
  • May require modification to presentation of assessments
  • Curriculum plan reflects levels of achievement and includes individually focussed IEP targets
  • Initial assessment and advice from QTMSI
  • Support with target setting from QTMSI as appropriate

Groupings for Teaching

  • Mainstream class
  • Attention to seating, lighting, visual environment and acoustics
  • Opportunities for 1:1 and small group work
  • Advice re learning environment from QTMSI as requested

Human Resources and Staffing

  • Main provision by class/subject teacher
  • Additional adults are deployed appropriately to ensure pupil access

 

  • Advice from QTMSI as requested in relation to the implications of dual/multi-sensory impairment
  • On referral the QTMSI will;
    • Contact family
    • Observe student in class
    • Speak to student
    • Provide advice to school

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

  • Full inclusion within National Curriculum
  • Teaching methods which facilitate access to the curriculum, social/emotional development and class participation
  • Opportunities for explanation clarification and reinforcement of lesson content and language
  • Advice from QTMSI on curriculum and teaching methods

Resources

  • Appropriate learning materials made available from within school including low vision aids and electronic magnification

 

  • MSI related training opportunities for staff as requested
  • Liaison with Support Team for Deaf Children and Visual Impairment Team re the sourcing of appropriate aids, including radio aids
  • Information relating to a range of resources and agencies

 

 

 

Multi-Sensory Impairment Range : 4

Descriptor

  • Moderate loss in one modality and mild/moderate in the other
  • May have hearing aids and/or LVAs
  • Non-progressive condition
  • May have additional language/learning needs associated with dual sensory impairment
  • Likely to have difficulties accessing incidental learning, including signed and verbal communication
  • May have a slower pace of learning, difficulties with attention, concentration and the development of independence and social skills
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

 

School Provision

Local Authority Provision

Assessment and Planning

  • Planning and assessment modified to take into account the sensory needs of the student
  • Information and advice is shared with all appropriate staff
  • IEP targets are specific and incorporate advice from QTMSI
  • Assessment and advice from QTMSI
  • Advice from QTMSI re target setting
  • Ongoing assessment, advice, support and training from QTMSI

Groupings for Teaching

  • Flexible class groupings with frequent opportunities for small group and 1:1 work in a quiet environment
  • Particular attention to seating, lighting, visual environment and acoustics
  • Advice from QTMSI on learning environment and aspects of learning requiring focused small group and 1:1 work

Human Resources and Staffing

  • Additional targeted support for explanation, clarification and reinforcement and to accommodate slower pace of learning
  • Advice from QTMSI and support to work with student and school staff

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

  • Adaptations to curriculum delivery to ensure access to the curriculum, social/emotional development and class participation
  • Additional time to experience new activities, complete work, preview and review lessons

 

  • Advice from QTMSI on curriculum and teaching approaches

Resources

  • Access to a quiet room for small group and 1:1 sessions
  • Appropriate learning materials including low vision aids and electronic magnification

 

 

 

  • MSI related training opportunities for staff
  • Liaison with Support Team for Deaf Children and Visual Impairment Team re the sourcing of appropriate aids, including radio aids
  • Information relating to a range of resources and agencies

 

 

 

Multi-Sensory Impairment Range : 5

Descriptor

  • Severe/profound loss in one modality and moderate in the other or has a late diagnosed or recently acquired MSI
  • Uses hearing aids and/or LVAs
  • Non-progressive condition
  • May have delayed development in some areas of learning and difficulties generalising learning and transferring skills
  • May have difficulties coping with new experiences and have underdeveloped independence and self-help skills
  • Likely to have communication difficulties
  • Significant difficulties accessing incidental learning and the curriculum
  • Significant difficulties with attention, concentration, confidence and class participation
  • Likely to require some individual support to access learning and social interactions and to develop life-skills
  • Likely to require a tactile approach to learning with access to real objects and context-based learning experiences and/or access to visual or tactile signed communication
  • Significantly slower pace of learning
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

 

School Provision

Local Authority Provision

Assessment and Planning

  • Planning and assessment modified to take into account the sensory needs of the student
  • Information and advice is shared with all appropriate staff
  • IEP targets are specific and incorporate advice from QTMSI
  • Functional sensory assessment by QTMSI
  • As appropriate to needs; ongoing assessment of communication, cognition, mobility, social and emotional development
  • IEP targets jointly formulated and monitored with QTMSI

Groupings for Teaching

  • Daily opportunities for small group work and individual support to ensure access to new experiences and afford opportunities to complete work, preview and review lessons
  • Advice from QTMSI on learning environment and aspects of learning requiring focused small group and 1:1 work

Human Resources and Staffing

  • Daily access to individual support, trained to meet the needs of pupils with MSI
  • Input from other educational and non-educational professionals as appropriate
  • Need for balanced approach to support and intervention to facilitate social inclusion
  • Training and support from QTMSI re the role of Intervenor/individual support
  • Input from other educational and non-educational professionals as appropriate, including habilitation officer
  • Ongoing support and advice from QTMSI

 

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

  • Significant modification to learning materials and curriculum delivery
  • Individual mobility and independence/life skills programmes
  • Additional time to experience new activities, complete work, preview and review lessons
  • Ongoing advice and support from QTMSI re specialist communication approaches
  • Ongoing advice and support from the QTMSI re the development of specialist curriculum

 

Resources

As appropriate to assessed needs;

  • Adapted equipment to meet specialised MSI needs
  • Access to a quiet room for small group and 1:1 sessions
  • Low vision aids, electronic magnification, laptop with software, large print materials
  • MSI training opportunities for staff
  • Liaison with Support Team for Deaf Children and Visual Impairment Team re the sourcing of appropriate aids, including radio aids
  • Information relating to a range of resources and agencies

 

 

 

 

Multi-Sensory Impairment Range : 6

Descriptor

  • Severe/profound loss in one modality and moderate/severe in the other and/or progressive condition
  • Likely to use hearing aids and/or LVA’s
  • Severe communication difficulties requiring an individual communication system using alternative and augmentative approaches
  • Require a tactile approach to learning with access to real objects and context-based learning experiences and/or access to visual or tactile signed communication
  • Have severe difficulties generalising learning and transferring skills
  • Difficulties coping with new experiences
  • Have underdeveloped independence and self-help skills
  • Have difficulties developing relationships and lack social awareness leading to social isolation
  • Likely to require a high level of individual support to access learning and social opportunities and to develop life-skills
  • May display challenging and/or self-injurious behaviour
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have limited clinical assessment information because of additional complex educational needs
  • May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

 

School Provision

Local Authority Provision

Assessment and Planning

  • Planning and assessment appropriate to the needs of a student with severe dual sensory impairment
  • Information and advice is shared with all appropriate staff
  • IEP targets are specific and incorporate advice from QTMSI
  • Functional sensory assessment by QTMSI
  • As appropriate to needs; ongoing assessment of communication, cognition, mobility, social and emotional development
  • IEP targets jointly formulated and monitored with QTMSI

Groupings for Teaching

  • High level of individual support within small class groupings

 

  • Training and support from QTMSI re the role of Intervenor

 

Human Resources and Staffing

  • Individual support, trained to meet the needs of pupils with MSI
  • Access to a qualified/experienced Deafblind Intervenor
  • Need for balanced approach to support and intervention to facilitate social inclusion
  • Training and support from QTMSI re the role of Intervenor
  • Input from other educational and non-educational professionals as appropriate, including habilitation officer
  • Ongoing support and advice from QTMSI

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

  • Individual curriculum to facilitate learning through tactile and experiential approaches and using alternative or augmentative communication systems
  • Individual programmes to facilitate the development of communication, compensatory, independent living, mobility and social skills
  • Ongoing advice and support from QTMSI re specialist communication approaches
  • Ongoing advice and support from the QTMSI re the development of individual curriculum

 

Resources

As appropriate;

  • Adapted equipment to meet specialised MSI needs
  • Access to a quiet room for small group and 1:1 sessions
  • Tactile resources
  • Materials to support development of alternative communication systems
  • Sensory stimulation resources

 

 

  • MSI training for staff
  • Liaison with Support Team for Deaf Children and Visual Impairment Team re the sourcing of appropriate aids, including radio aids
  • Information relating to a range of resources and agencies

 

 

 

 

Multi-Sensory Impairment Range : 7

Descriptor

  • Severe/profound loss in both modalities
  • Likely to use hearing aids and/or LVA’s
  • Severe and complex communication difficulties requiring an individual communication system using alternative and augmentative approaches
  • Severely restricted access to incidental learning
  • Require a tactile and experiential approach to learning and individual curriculum and/or access to visual or tactile signed communication
  • Require individual support with most aspects of basic care needs and to access learning and social opportunities
  • May lack the strategies and motivation to make effective use of residual hearing and vision and require sensory stimulation programmes
  • May be tactile defensive/selective and highly wary of new experiences
  • Have difficulties developing relationships and lack social awareness leading to social isolation
  • May display challenging and/or self-injurious behaviour
  • May have additional learning needs
  • May have limited clinical assessment information because of additional complex educational needs
  • May have Auditory Processing Disorder / Auditory Neuropathy / Cerebral Visual Impairment

 

School Provision

Local Authority Provision

Assessment and Planning

  • Individual planning and assessment appropriate to the needs of a student with severe dual sensory impairment
  • Information and advice is shared with all appropriate staff
  • IEP targets are specific and incorporate advice from QTMSI
  • Functional sensory assessment
  • As appropriate to needs; ongoing assessment of communication, cognition, mobility, social and emotional development
  • IEP targets jointly formulated and monitored with QTMSI

Groupings for Teaching

  • Individual support within small class groupings
  • Training and support from QTMSI re the role of Intervenor

 

Human Resources and Staffing

  • Individual support from a qualified/experienced Deafblind Intervenor
  • Need for balanced approach to support and intervention to facilitate social inclusion
  • Training and support from QTMSI re the role of Intervenor
  • Input from other educational and non-educational professionals as appropriate, including habilitation officer
  • Ongoing support, advice and individual work from QTMSI

Curriculum and Teaching Methods

  • Individual curriculum to facilitate learning through sensory and experiential approaches and using alternative or augmentative communication systems
  • Individual sensory stimulation programmes
  • Individual programmes to facilitate the development of communication, compensatory, independent living, mobility and social skills
  • Ongoing advice and support from QTMSI re specialist communication approaches
  • Ongoing advice and support from the QTMSI re the development of individual curriculum

 

Resources

As appropriate;

  • Adapted equipment to meet specialised MSI needs
  • Access to a quiet room for small group and 1:1 sessions
  • Tactile resources
  • Materials to support development of alternative communication systems
  • Sensory stimulation resources

 

  • MSI training for staff
  • Liaison with Support Team for Deaf Children and Visual Impairment Team re the sourcing of appropriate aids, including radio aids
  • Information relating to a range of resources and agencies