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Sensory passports. What they are and how they help. What is a sensory passport?. A short accessible document Created with the child (ideally) Presented in the child’s chosen format Provides key information for the adults involved – e.g. parents, teachers, therapists,.

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Sensory passports

Sensory passports

What they are and

how they help


What is a sensory passport
What is a sensory passport?

  • A short accessible document

  • Created with the child (ideally)

  • Presented in the child’s chosen format

  • Provides key information for the adults involved – e.g. parents, teachers, therapists,


Sensory passports explain
Sensory passports explain

  • what sight or hearing a child has.

  • ways to help the child use their sight and/or hearing more effectively

  • other “important information”


What a passport might include
What a passport might include

  • Child’s eye condition

  • Acuity, glasses and best print size

  • Visual fields

  • Lighting

  • Adjustments – e.g. human, environmental

  • Variations in vision – e.g. night-blindness, after seizure


Bios rco view
BIOS & RCO view

Effective partnership depends on clear communication between parents, children and professionals.Health professionals should ensure that information about a child’s ophthalmic disorder is presented in an understandable way and is supplemented by written information, including copies of clinic letters, where appropriate.


Bios and rco view
BIOS and RCO view

  • All families should receive an explanation of their child’s disability in language that they can understand from an identified specialist doctor, usually the responsible ophthalmologist.


Rnib survey
RNIB survey

  • Lack of information is a common complaint; more than 60% of parents in the Royal National Institute of the Blind survey said that they had nobody knowledgeable to talk to when they first learned of their child’s disability, and 40% claimed never to have had an explanation in terms they could understand.


Accessible information
Accessible information

  • Parents need easy written information to share.

  • Lots of people can’t understand hospital letters to the GP (including some GPs!)

  • A passport can include information on “the meaning” of a visual impairment for the child


Issues for sensory passports
Issues for sensory passports

  • What information is included?

  • Confidentiality? Who is the child willing to share it with?

  • Who is responsible for working with the child to produce it?

  • How often it is updated?


Case study
Case study

  • Young woman about to meet dietician

  • Low vision passport shared with dietician

  • (see sample)


Katie case study
Katie – case study

  • Young wheelchair user, prone to falling asleep at all times

  • Considered too disabled to learn Makaton sign language – but learned it from other children

  • Observations noted importance of positioning due to visual field loss

  • Result – lively youngster, seldom asleep


Daniel case study
Daniel – case study

  • Young deaf adult about to be sent to costly placement miles from family

  • Challenging behaviour proved dangerous

  • Medical records showed he had RP

  • Information about vision recorded and staff taught to approach within his visual field

  • Behaviour became manageable – local placement has been a great success


Christopher case study
Christopher – case study

  • Teenager with Down’s syndrome, heart problems and registered blind

  • Big variations in vision when tired

  • Conflict between school and respite care home about his level of functioning

  • Recorded information about reasons for variations in vision helped people support him


Why recording information is important
Why recording information is important

  • Realistic expectations – including extended family

  • Creating opportunities for learning and development

  • Personal safety

  • Avoids family having to repeat information frequently


Who needs to know about vision and hearing
Who needs to know about vision and hearing?

  • Child (if possible)

  • Parents and wider family

  • Teachers and school staff

  • Therapists

  • Other staff – e.g. rehabilitation officers for the visually impaired

  • Support services – e.g. short break service


Next stages hospital
Next stages - Hospital

  • Hospital letters to be in Easy English –

  • Hospital staff need templates for key conditions/words.

  • Need for consent form for parents to sign to initiate passport


Next stages teachers
Next stages - teachers

  • Co-ordination of information from clinic, school and parents

  • Co-ordination of information for key adults - e.g. print size, position in class

  • Need for protocols and priorities to be finalised.


Everyone needs a passport
Everyone needs a passport!

  • The Tower Hamlets Low Vision Committee service users think everyone should have a passport – not just children.


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