What does the Sensory Support Team do?

Dumfries and Galloway Council Sensory Support Team offer support to people of all ages who have hearing loss, or sight loss, or both. The Team supports children and adults and their families/carers to help maintain safety, or regain independence and quality of life.

There are seven members of staff within the Sensory Support Team.  These staff members will visit people at home to carry out assessments to establish what they might require to support them. 

  • Senior Social Worker 
  • Three Social Work Assistants
  • Rehabilitation Officer, Visual Impairment 
  • Rehabilitation Officer, Visual Impairment (Habilitation Specialist)
  • Trainee Rehabilitation Officer, Visual Impairment  

Social Work Assistant

The Social Work Assistant works with people of all ages who have hearing loss ranging from a moderate loss to a complete loss of hearing. The Social Work Assistant: 

  • Undertakes assessments and meets the needs where possible with equipment provision
  • Offers advice and support on how to make the best use of residual hearing
  • Offers social and emotional support
  • Provides information and will liaise with other partner organisations.

Forms of practical support

  • Doorbells or phone devices which flash when activated to alert the person that there is someone at the door or on the phone.
  • Alerts can also be given to parents with hearing loss to let them know their baby is crying/distressed.
  • Deaf fire alarms vibrate and flash to help deaf people safely escape from fire. Deaf fire alarms in line with legislation now need to be connected to an interlinked fire alarm system. 
  • TV amplifiers allow hard of hearing people to listen to TV at a volume they can control without loud volumes disrupting relatives or neighbours. 

Please be aware that if you reside in a social landlord or private tenancy, your landlord is responsible for ensuring compatible fire alarms.

Rehabilitation Officers, Visual Impairment

The Rehabilitation Officers manage the Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) registration.

They also:

  • Offer assessment, advice, information, and training in independent living skills, getting around safely (mobility sessions), communication and making best possible use of remaining eyesight.
  • Provide equipment to people with a visual impairment following assessment (for example, they can cook safely and independently again, use a washing machine, have lighting which allows them to see to carry out activities, enables them to listen to radio or talking books and can enable them to read confidential mail. Training is provided in the use of all the equipment).
  • Provide mobility and orientation training using a variety of methods which means people can find their way around their own homes, school and in the community.

Habilitation Officer

Dumfries and Galloway Council have one Habilitation Specialist. 

What is Habilitation?

Habilitation involves one-to-one training for children and young people with a vision impairment. Starting from their existing skills, the aim is to develop their personal mobility, navigation and independent living skills. At whatever age the training is started, the overriding goal is to maximise the child or young person's independence, opening the way in the future, to further study, employment and an independent life.

Habilitation specialist's work with individual children and young people, their parents and carers and the educational and other settings they work and live in. Habilitation Specialists train children and young people with a vision impairment in the use of alternative independence strategies. They support and advise carers on alternative skill learning as the child grows up, using a range of strategies customised to the age, needs and development of the child.

The strategies the habilitation practitioner uses involve using the other senses: hearing, touch, taste, smell and balance in a coherent, planned and systematic way to provide the child with information about their world. As the child reaches school age, the habilitation specialist works increasingly with school staff as part of the transition process, along with other professionals, to develop the child's independence when travelling to, being at and returning home from school. This includes developing their independence skills in many areas of personal life such as dressing skills, personal care and eating, safe travel, shopping and leisure activities.

Page last updated: 12/10/2023
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