At Blackpool and The Fylde College our dedicated Sensory Support Team can provide advice, information, support and guidance to students with a sensory loss.
What is sensory loss?
Sensory loss includes the total or partial loss of one of the senses. Examples of this may include the following:
- deafness, partial hearing loss, auditory processing difficulties (APD) or tinnitus
- blindness, partial sight loss or low vision
- combined visual and hearing loss
Sensory support aims to remove barriers to learning to enable students with a sensory loss to access the curriculum and fully participate in their chosen course and career pathway.
How we support students with sensory loss
The Sensory Support Team and Student Support and Wellbeing staff, together with academic staff, work closely with students to support them to achieve their full potential and to be the best they can be. We aim to identify your individual support needs, put the agreed support in place as soon as possible and continue to monitor that support.
- Members of our team visit local high/special schools and attend school transition reviews with the aim of supporting students with sensory loss to progress smoothly from school to College.
- All students who declare a sensory loss are referred to the Sensory Specialist, who will meet with you to complete an Assessment of Needs. At the meeting they will discuss and agree your individual support needs. This will be followed by regular reviews to ensure we continue to meet your individual needs.
- A copy of the assessment will be shared with your tutors for awareness; the Sensory Specialist will also offer tutors (and peers) additional awareness training and guidelines if required.
Support throughout your course:
- The Sensory Specialist can provide individual specialist support sessions for academic and language skills, sensory loss issues, technology support and further assessment if required.
- Learning support facilitators (LSFs) can provide support in and out of the workroom to support development of study skills, academic writing and organisational skills.
- An educational support worker (ESW) can provide important communication support in and out of the workroom.
- We liaise continually with your tutors to raise awareness about your needs.
- We provide specialist workshops for mathematics, English and general study skills.
- We will agree strategies with you to encourage and support your independence.
- We will support you to develop ‘work ready’ and employment skills.
- We will support you with progression to other College courses, university or employment.
Specific specialised support recommendations:
For students who are blind or have a visual loss, we offer:
- mobility and orientation/sighted guide training
- material adaptation such as enlargement, change of font/paper colour or alternative formats, such as audio files, audio books or braille
- assistive technology support/equipment loans, eg laptops with text to speech/magnification software
- exam access arrangements, eg extra time, reader, scribe or assistive technology
For students who are deaf, have a hearing loss, APD or tinnitus, we offer:
- a communication support worker (CSW) to interpret the lecture in sign language and relay student, tutor and peer discussions
- assistive technology such as portable loops, vibrating fire pagers
- material adaptation, eg modified language and vocabulary and visual resources
- exam access arrangements, eg extra time, BSL communication support, modified exam paper and tinnitus sound therapy support
The Sensory Support Team works closely with external agencies and professionals such as Blackpool Council and Lancashire County Council, SENCOs, speech and language therapists, Audiology, Cochlear Implant Centre at Manchester University, Blackpool Low Vision Committee and others.
In addition, we are proud of our links with external organisations, which specialise in support for people with visual and hearing loss. These include the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) and the local group ‘Sign Hi’, Action on Hearing Loss, National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) and The Ear Foundation.
For more information, contact the Student Support and Wellbeing Team on:
T 01253 504356