Support for children

We are here to give your family the personalised support you need for your child, from early childhood through to adulthood.

We know that being a parent of a child who is deafblind or has other complex disabilities can be challenging.

Sense began more than sixty years ago with a conversation between two mums. Mums who both had babies born deafblind as a result of rubella. They felt isolated - and worried that their children would be isolated and unable to enjoy meaningful, fulfilled lives. Together with other families, they proved this does not have to be the case.

With the right support, we believe it's possible for everyone to make sense of their world and the world around them. To communicate, connect and take part in life, no matter what.

The Sense approach to supporting children

We support children and young people in lots of different ways - in the home, in the community and at our centres, in their education and transition to adulthood and through our holidays, arts, sport and wellbeing programmes.

We also offer practical help and support to families and carers, including information, advice, short breaks and family events.

We are communication experts. We will take time to understand your child's way of communicating, be it through speech, sign, symbols, objects of reference, gestures or body language. Or we will learn your child's particular way of expressing themselves.

Find out more about the Sense way of supporting individuals and our pioneering total communication approach.

Sense Specialist Services for children and young people

In addition to our other services, we have a dedicated team who provide specialist support for children and young people with a combined vision and hearing impairment.

We also offer some support to children and young people – and their families - who have either a vision or hearing impairment combined with additional needs, which impact on their access to information, communication and mobility.

The team offer information, advice and support for families and professionals to make sure you get the help and support you need and to give you the confidence to navigate the system.

Find out more about the specialist support we offer for children and young people. 

Who the team supports

  • Children and young people who are deafblind/multi-sensory impaired - we know, for these children and their families, having the right support is crucial, especially in those early days of diagnosis.
  • Children and young people who have medical conditions that are likely to cause sight and hearing problems as they grow older.

The team also supports children and young people who have either a sight or hearing impairment combined with other needs, such as learning or physical disabilities.

What the team offers

Early intervention, including early years groups

These pre-school groups are an opportunity for children and young people who are deafblind or multi-sensory impaired, and their families, to meet on a regular basis.

They offer families opportunities to access specialist support from professionals with knowledge and experience of children with multi-sensory impairment. A range of activities are offered, based on the individual needs of the children attending, to encourage and develop communication and play skills and to stimulate use of residual vision and hearing. Weekly meetings will enable families to make new connections and to learn new skills to support their child’s play and communication development.

If you would like to find out more about any of our groups, or would like to join in the activities, or just come along, then do please get in touch with us. This will help us to find out more about how best to support your family and offer further information - with a warm welcome.

Specialist advice to help your child to communicate, learn and develop

We will work closely in partnership with you and the professionals supporting your child. We will make sure that both you and professionals have the information you need, including information about rights and the help that may be available to your family, not just the services we provide at Sense.

Support with multi-sensory impairment identification to ensure that your child receives the specialist help they need

Our team offer a report which identifies a child as deafblind or multi-sensory impaired and outlines the key requirements of local authorities to support families, as well as signposting to specific services. The report contains detailed information about your child’s multi-sensory impairment, observations and recommendations from our practitioner team.

Support in hospitals

Visiting hospital can be a daunting experience for any child and their family. Our team can offer support to your family to help make your child’s stay in hospital more comfortable and less overwhelming. We can advise your health professionals on aspects such as the hospital environment, effective communication strategies for your child as well as accessible play/learning opportunities. Our team also provide support to families at specialist clinics at leading hospitals.

Transition and preparation advice and support as your child prepares for adulthood

There are many things to deal with if your child is deafblind or has other complex disabilities and is between the ages of 14 to 25. Like everyone at that age, your child will want to have fun and try new things - but there's a lot to think about and important decisions to make.

Sense can support your child to plan for the future, make important decisions and develop their independence.

Support groups, family events and information

We value the importance of families coming together, sharing ideas and experiences and forging friendships.

We have regular support groups and family events across the country that offer an opportunity for children and young people who are deafblind or multi-sensory impaired and their families to meet on a regular basis.

These give the whole family the opportunity to share experiences and ideas, to chat to members of our team, and for children and young people to have fun.

We also have information on a wide range of subjects relating to children, young people and deafblindness, including practical ideas, which we can share with you.

Individual holistic assessment to highlight your child's strengths and strategies to support them to develop

A holistic assessment will help you to see what your child can do and how they can be supported to develop further.

The assessment will look at the child as a whole, identifying their strengths and how they can be built upon. Our team will work with you to identify priority areas before the assessment day so they know which areas to focus on. These might include early communication or ideas for play and learning.

Additional direct support at times of specific need

We know there are times in a child or young person's life when both they, and their families, will need more support, such as when they are starting school, changing schools or moving into adulthood.

Our team can provide extra support at these key times, or if you are having difficulties as a family.

Get in touch

Get in touch for information and advice about support for you and your child

Contact us

Play toolkits

We have created toolkits for parents and professionals, to support inclusive play for children.

Find out more

Getting the right educational support

Sense has produced guides on the Special Education Needs system for parents, professionals.

Find out more