Criteria and Timeline for Accessing Sensory Support

Criteria and timeline for accessing support.

Criteria and Timelines are under review as part of the SEND Transformation Programme. They are also impacted by the current significant financial constraints and pressures facing education.

Criteria for Accessing Support

Referrals to the Sensory Service usually come from Health and Social Care Trusts.  Evidence must be available from health professionals to support the diagnosis and/or history, and parents/carers must be consulted and in agreement for the referral.

For referrals which lie outside the thresholds stated below, the service may be able to provide a one-off visit, offer information about useful resources or provide telephone advice.

Deafness and Hard of Hearing Criteria

The Service accepts referrals for children with:

  • A diagnosed mild to profound sensori-neural or permanent conductive hearing loss (British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD) criteria).
  • Evidence of protracted history of middle ear complications.

Vision Impairment Criteria

The  Service will accept referrals for children and young people with a medically diagnosed eye condition affecting both eyes who have:

  • Mild, moderate, severe, and profound vision impairment (VI) (World Health Organisation definition of mild VI is visual acuity worse than 6/12).
  • An eye condition which is progressive/degenerative
  • A significant visual field loss e.g. hemianopia.

Can a Child or Young Person Access the Sensory Service without a Statement of Special Educational Needs?

Yes, children and young people are able to access the Sensory Service without a Statement of Special Educational Needs.  

Parents, educational settings and other professionals can contact the Sensory Service for advice if they have concerns about a child who may be deaf/hard of hearing or may have a vision impairment that is not yet identified.

Timeline for Referral Process

  • Referral received from Health 
  • Referral is logged onto database once all information required from Health is received.  This is the date of referral.  
  • Triage (If no support is needed, this is the end of the process) 
  • If support is needed, first contact for referral will be made. 

Initial Contact

  • Initial contact for preschool deaf children made within 2 working days of allocation. 
  • Initial contact for school age deaf children made within 5 working days of allocation. 
  • Initial contact for children with vision impairment made within 5 working days of allocation.  

Initial Visit

  • Within 4 working weeks of allocation.  Level of support will be determined including: a decision around further support and/ or if no further action is needed, the child or young person will be put on a case list and/ or advice, signposting given to the school. 

First Report 

  • Within 10 weeks of allocation and initial decision on level of support.  

1 Referral received

2 - 5 working days

2 Initial contact with parent or carer

4 weeks

3 Initial visit

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Contact the Sensory Service

The Sensory Service can be contacted for advice and information specific to children and young people who have, or may have, who are deaf/hard of hearing, have a vision impairment, or who have a multi-sensory impairment.