See Hear

A strategic framework for meeting the needs of people with a sensory impairment in Scotland

5. The Strategic Framework

5.1. This strategic framework covers cradle to grave sensory impairment and is set against a background of increasing demand, the requirement for greater efficiency and effectiveness with available resources, and Health and Social Care Integration. It has been developed in the context of a number of wider policy and practice expectations, and has been directly informed by the views of a wide range of stakeholders who have contributed their views on current service provision and made suggestions for future developments.

5.2. It should be a lever for change, promoting the seamless provision of assessment, care and support to people with a sensory impairment. In so doing it:

  • recognises that different types of sensory impairment will require different responses;
  • recognises that the responsibility for systems of care lies with the statutory agencies,
    but can be delivered across a wide range of agencies and settings. It therefore
    requires a partnership approach and the active engagement of a wide range of
    statutory and third sector agencies in the health, education and social care sectors.
    It also includes the wider range of public service provision, people with a sensory
    impairment themselves and parents/carers and young carers where applicable;
  • identifies practical steps that can be taken to address the above points across all types
    of sensory impairment to ensure that needs are recognised and responded to in an
    outcomes focussed way.

5.3. With regard to children who have a sensory impairment, whilst the intended outcomes for this younger age group are the same as those outlined for sensory impaired adults, the wider context, and the nature of the support requirements, are significantly different. At the time of writing this Strategy, the Doran review has recently been published, and sets out the strategic vision for children and young people with complex additional support needs in Scotland. Additionally, the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is currently moving through the Parliamentary process, and the Ministerial Group on Child Protection and Disability is due to report.

5.4. Children who are born with, or who acquire hearing or sight loss in early childhood, have very different developmental and habilitation needs to those of adults who lose their hearing and/or sight later in life, and require very specialist input from a variety of agencies. The Getting It Right For Every Child person-centred care planning approach to addressing holistic wellbeing needs will provide the framework within which the needs of any child or young person will be addressed (see 1.5).

5.5. It is recognised therefore that a Sensory Impairment Strategy cannot, and should not, be the sole driver for developments across the full range of health, education and social care services for children with a visual and/or hearing impairment, nor the local and national policies, and indeed legislation, which direct these. However, it is proposed that the inclusion of children within the scope of this Strategy will serve to:

  • bring all relevant agencies together to share information about current and best
    practice with regard to addressing the wellbeing needs of children and young people
    with a sensory impairment, reducing duplication of effort and supporting a cohesive
    approach across Scotland;
  • evaluate the impact and/or possibilities of joint sensory service delivery for children
    with visual and/or hearing impairment and their families;
  • support the development of a strategic approach to securing positive outcomes for
    sensory impaired children which is appropriate and relevant to the wider policy and
    practice context, and which supports a smooth transition to adult life;
  • support timely early intervention to enable children to achieve their potential.

5.6. At the time of writing, the proposed private member's British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill is being drafted for submission to the Scottish Parliament later in 2014. When the detailed proposal has been submitted by Mark Griffin MSP, the Scottish Government will review its position.


Email: Alan Nicholson

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