Brent Sensory Support Service

Brent Sensory Support Service works with children and young people from birth to 25, who are deaf, hearing impaired, blind and partially sighted, with or without additional needs, to ensure they have the full range of support and opportunities available to them. The service supports children and young people who live in the borough or attend a Brent school. 

From home and early years settings, through to secondary schools and colleges, our outreach teams work alongside parents, carers, teachers and other professionals to remove the barriers to learning that these children and young people experience. Our aim is to enable them to improve their lives and to achieve the outcomes they and their families aspire to.

The service is split into two teams that are based at Brent Civic Centre.

Brent Vision Impairment Service (BVIS)

There are over 150 children and young people in Brent who are partially sighted or blind, some of whom have additional needs. Working closely with parents, carers, professionals and educational settings, BVIS aims to ensure that they have equality of opportunity alongside their fully sighted peers. The team includes:

  • Advisory teachers with a qualification in teaching children and young people with vision impairment
  • A children's mobility and independence specialist who works with children and families to develop independent travel and life skills
  • A resource co-ordinator who trains and supports teaching assistants (TAs) across Brent and advises on the production of suitable classroom materials for blind and partially sighted children and young people 

Early years support

The team carries out home visits (currently remotely) and works alongside parents, carers and professionals. They will assess a child's functional vision, work with them on specific skills, ideas and suggestions and produce reports. Support with transition to pre-school/school, is also offered. 

Support in schools

  • Delivering in-service training and support for school staff (currently remotely)
  • Working and planning with teachers and TAs 
  • Contributing to target setting and advising on approaches, strategies and how to adapt technology and materials
  • Advising on examinations and access arrangements, school trips and work experience
  • Seeking pupil and parent/carer feedback and acting upon it
  • Being involved in the recruitment of TAs
  • Teaching specialist skills e.g. Braille
  • Running mobility and independence training
  • Producing reports and contributing to annual reviews
  • Responding to queries/concerns and offering solutions

Find out more about the service by reading our leaflets for children and young people and parents.

Who to contact

Paul Fielding, Team Leader, BVIS, telephone 0208 937 3312 or email paul.fielding@brent.gov.uk

VI support for people aged 18 and above not in education

Brent Adult Social Care has two rehabilitation officers who support registered blind and partially sighted people. This includes: 

  • Assessments
  • Registrations for people who have been newly diagnosed
  • Mobility training
  • Independent living skills training
  • Guidance around lighting and low vision
  • Support with assistive technology and signposting to other relevant organisations

Most referrals are made by hospitals through the Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) process, as well as other health and social care services. If you would like to self-refer please contact Brent Customer Services on 0208 937 4300 (press option two for adult social care) or email customer.services@brent.gov.uk. Only people with permanent and substantial sight loss are normally eligible to use this service.

Brent Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service (BDHIS)

There are over 250 children and young people with a diagnosed hearing loss in Brent. Working alongside parents, carers, professionals and educational settings, BDHIS aims to ensure that they have equality of opportunity alongside their hearing peers to reach their full potential. The team is made up of:

  • Advisory teachers of the deaf with a qualification in teaching children and young people with hearing impairment
  • A deaf instructor who teaches British Sign Language (BSL)
  • An audiology technician

Support at home

  • Home visits for babies and under fives diagnosed with a hearing loss or Auditory Processing Disorder 
  • Regular hearing aid/cochlear implant (CI) checks
  • Provision of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
  • Support for parents/carers in encouraging hearing aid/CI use
  • Assessing functional hearing and vision
  • Providing auditory verbal therapy (AVT)
  • Supporting parents/carers to help a child or young person develop specific skills, for example, supporting a deaf child in communicating with those around them
  • Working with other professionals involved with your child e.g. paediatricians, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists
  • Supporting a child’s transition to pre-school/school/college
  • Contributing to education, health and care (EHC) and early help assessments, annual reviews and Personal Education Plans (PEP)
  • Providing opportunities to learn British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Running a drop-in early year group

Support in schools and colleges

  • Delivering in-service deaf awareness training for teachers and support staff and providing ongoing support and lesson planning on hearing impairment issues
  • Delivering peer deaf awareness workshops
  • Advising on inclusive strategies and approaches in the classroom, including the improvement of diagnostics
  • Helping with exam and access arrangements, school trips and work experience
  • Teaching specialist skills like listening skills, social skills and British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Helping to recruit and train support staff
  • Gathering feedback from pupils, parents and carers and acting upon it
  • Providing Assistive Listening Devices to children and young people
  • Advising on the use and maintenance of all hearing equipment
  • Contributing to EHC assessments, annual reviews and Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings
  • Responding to queries/concerns and offering solutions

Who to contact

Milly Mastroianni, Team Leader, BDHIS, telephone 0208 937 5107, mobile 07919 492580 or email milly.mastroianni@brent.gov.uk