This is a service provided for children who are deemed to have a sufficient degree of visual impairment which will impact upon their access to education. Each Visiting Teacher works with approximately 50 students, although some VTs have caseloads of over 100 children.
The following guidelines will assist parents in assessing if a child qualifies for the service of a Visiting Teacher:
- The child’s eyesight must be no greater than 6/18 or less
- The child may also have a restricted field of vision
- The child may have reasonable vision at present, but have a deteriorating eye condition.
- An Ophthalmologist report must be available (from a recent eye examination). It must include details about the child’s distance vision (6/60, 6/36 etc.) and, if possible, their visual acuity and field of vision.
- The child may have other disabilities, but their primary disability must be visual.
The Visiting Teachers will work with a child in their home, pre-school, primary school, special school, secondary school, specialised unit or University/College (as a backup to the Disability Officer found in each University). The Visiting Teacher can advise parents and schools about the best methods of modifying the environment/ educational materials for their child and will be actively involved in the request for Reasonable Accommodations in State Examinations. They work in conjunction with other agencies to ensure the best possible education for the child.
Frequency of visits depend upon the child’s level of vision. Blind children, by the nature of their total lack of eyesight will receive more visits than a child with a less pronounced visual loss. Some children will have weekly visits while others may have term or annual visits.
Each of the Visiting Teachers works under the direction of a Regional Manager. An application form for the service can be downloaded at:
The list of Regional Offices is listed on the back page of the referral form for the convenience of parents and other professionals who wish to refer a child to the service. A child can be referred on to the Visiting Teacher Service by any agency SENOs, Parents, NCBI, and Ophthalmologists etc. It is advisable to send the application to the Regional Manager who will assess the case and then pass the student’s details to the relevant Visiting Teacher.
More information is available here www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/Visiting-Teacher-Service/
As of the 20th of March 2017 this service has been transferred to the National Council of Special Education.www.ncse.ie/
From the NCSE website:
As of the 20th March 2017, the management of the Special Education Support Service, the National Behaviour Support Service and the Visiting Teacher Service for Children who are Deaf/Hearing Impaired and for Children who are Blind/Visually Impaired has transferred to the National Council for Special Education. Contact details across all organisations will remain the same for this school year and existing services will continue to be provided as normal without disruption.