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Sensory services: Hearing and Vision Impaired Services

The sensory services provide support for children who have a hearing or vision impairment.

If you need any of the information on this page in a different format, contact us.


  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
  2. About the sensory services
  3. Support in schools
  4. Support for over 16s
  5. Equipment and technology
  6. Eligibility
  7. How to get support
  8. Contact us
  9. Useful links

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

We are working to keep our local contacts and networks live and to continue to work together to solve issues in our area.

This may be through email, telephone calls or texting, but may also need to include Skype video calls, webchats, conference calls etc.  

If you need to get in touch, please use our normal contact details.

See a list of online resources for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)

Read the letter from Vicky Ford MP, 14 January 2021.

About the sensory services

There are two specialist teams:

  • Hearing Impaired Service
  • Vision Impaired Service

The services:

  • assess children's and young people's needs and monitor their progress
  • provide one-to-one teaching and support at home, preschool and school (based on the needs of each child)
  • support families
  • provide advice and training for professionals who work with children
  • promote understanding of vision and hearing impairments
  • ensure equal access to education for pupils with vision and hearing impairments
  • equip young people with skills, strategies and understanding to achieve their full potential, both academically and socially

The services include teaching and non-teaching support staff who have additional specialist qualifications.

Support in school

The sensory services provide support in schools. 

Hearing support in schools

In mainstream schools, support is available for pupils with a hearing impairment who need additional communication and language support. This may include:

  • daily access to a Teacher of the Deaf
  • one-to-one, small group teaching and support within their mainstream class
  • additional support in learning to use spoken and written English
  • communication support such as Sign to support spoken English, or British Sign Language
  • specialist equipment, if needed to fully access their education

The emphasis is on including all children in the school community.

Support for children with a hearing impairment is currently under review.

Vision support in schools

Depending on their needs, children with a visual impairment can get support including:

  • one-to-one teaching and support in preschool, school and at home
  • modified learning materials
  • specialist equipment, if needed to fully access their education
  • independence and mobility training

Schools outside of South Tyneside

For children and young people who go to school outside of South Tyneside:

  • If they do have an Education Health and Care Plan, support is available from South Tyneside sensory services
  • If they do not have an Education Health and Care Plan, support is available from the local sensory services in the area that they attend school, including academies

Children who need to attend specialist education in another area will have an Education Health and Care Plan, which will outline their needs.

Support for over 16s

We provide a transition plan for young people finishing school at 16 and moving to further education.

This includes:

  • advice and guidance on what each young person needs
  • training and visits if needed

Young people with an Education Health and Care Plan can get support from the sensory services up to the age of 25, if they stay in education.

The services monitor and support education providers so that the needs outlined in the plan are provided. The services work with a variety of providers chosen by students in South Tyneside and other areas.

Equipment and technology

These items are often known as Auxillary Aids.

  • At school - The sensory services will assess children's and young people's needs. If they need specialist equipment to fully access their education, the sensory services will organise this.
  • At home - If specialist equipment is needed at home, please ask for a referral to the Children and Adults Disability team for a further assessment.


We support children and young people with a vision or hearing impairment, aged 0 to 25 years. 

To decide the amount of support for each child or young person, we do an assessment and consider a wide range of factors.

We use the National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NATSIP) eligibility framework to allocate support.

How to get support

Most referrals are made via hospital services, including:

  • Neonatal Hearing Screen Programme (NHSP)
  • Consultant Opthamologists

The sensory services contact schools and settings after a child has been diagnosed.

Ask for support

You can contact the services for support if you are:

  • a parent
  • professionally involved with the child (school, GP, etc.), if you have permission from the child's parent

Contact the Hearing Impaired Service for support: 

  1. Contact us 
  2. We will send you a referral form to complete

Contact the Vision Impaired Service for support: 

  1. Complete the Referral form71.5KB and Parent consent form77.89KB
  2. Return both forms to or Vision Impaired Service, Level 1, Town Hall and Civic Offices, South Shields, NE33 2RL
  3. Or, contact us

Read about what to do if you think a child has vision loss

Contact us

Vision Impaired Service:

Hearing Impaired Service:

Useful links


Vision assistive technology: 

There are more helpful websites available. We recommend you visit RNIB if you need information about specific eye-conditions.

The list of equipment suppliers are not supported by or related to South Tyneside Council.


Hearing assistive technology: 

Cochlear implants:

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