Working With Blind Children
There are many different aspects to working with children but perhaps one of the most challenging and likewise most rewarding is that of working with blind children.
In working with blind children the challenges are not just to help them but to do so without them feeling as though they are incapable of doing things for themselves. In addition you should also be in a position to treat them in exactly the same manner as you would a child whose vision is not impaired.
TeachingIf you are a fully qualified teacher then you may wish to specialise in terms of the areas in which you teach. If you wish to work with children who are visually impaired or blind then you could perhaps think of working in a school that deals specifically with children suffering from these conditions.
In working in such an environment there is no specialist training required other than being a qualified teacher. A level of teaching experience is obviously expected but there is no limit beyond this as to whether you can or cannot work with such children.
If you have taken up such a post then you must have completed successfully after a period of three years a course in sensory or visual impairment which are run by the Department of Education and Skills (DFES).
Teaching AssistantSometimes referred to as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) a Teaching Assistant may offer one to one assistance in the same way as they might offer assistance to an able bodied child. This assistance may include helping them with lessons and also helping with the preparation of classroom materials.
Practical assistance such as setting up equipment and helping to prepare Braille text are also required.
A Teaching Assistant may find it useful to have experience with Braille text and/or visual and sensory awareness. If they do not and wish to become a Teaching Assistant working with the visually impaired or the blind then they can take a course in the relevant aspects of such work with the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).
Child CareThere are a number of residential schools in the United Kingdom dealing with the education and care of visually impaired or blind children. These schools required care staff who can not only look after the children whilst in school but also during out of school activities or after school hours.
These staff can also be called upon to offer assistance within the confines of the classroom as well and may double up as Teaching Assistants.
There is no qualification for experience for such a role although some schools do ask that their applicants have a grounding in social care or a Nursery Nurse qualification.
Disclosure and Barring Service CheckThis is a mandatory check that all applicants must be subject to prior to being made a firm offer of employment. The purpose of this check is to ensure that any individual wishing to work with children, the elderly or individuals considered to be vulnerable are eligible to do so and that they do not have any criminal convictions that may constitute working with such groups as a risk.
Every applicant must pass this check successfully before any firm offer of employment is entered into and if you are interested in such work you can obtain such a check yourself from the Criminal Records Bureau although the prospective employer does have the right to instigate their own checks if they wish.
For further information on working with visually impaired or blind children visit the Royal National Institute for the Blind's (RNIB) website at www.rnib.org.uk.