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Working with Individuals with Complex Needs and a Visual Impairment: Looking back and looking forward

  • Kay Wrench (Oldham ACNS Team for Visual and Physical Impairment)
  • Roger Bates (Inclusive Technology Ltd)

This session is designed to help you to understand how visual impairment and perceptual difficulties affect a child's ability to communicate and to access AAC strategies (often designed to be very visual), the curriculum and technology. We will reflect on tried and tested practical advice which will improve outcomes and access for those with a visual impairment. We will also consider the use of new technologies such as the iPad to support learning and communication with this group of learners, as well as also benefitting individuals such as those with autism and severe cognitive difficulties.


This session is based on years of working as part of a multi-agency team promoting good practice with individuals with visual and cortical and cerebral visual impairment.


As many individuals with complex needs have visual impairments, it is important to obtain accurate information about their visual functioning. Using this information to provide suitably adapted strategies has been found to give a much greater chance of success. In particular, the use of appropriate software can give valuable information as part of the assessment process and provide opportunities to develp visual and cognitive skills.


Often simple modifications – such as clear black outlines and better spacing, working with meaningful and concrete concepts, and providing additional auditory feedback – can make a significant difference for individuals with a visual impairment.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages