Assessment and Management of Infants and Young Children with Severe Visual Impairment: Identifying risk and vulnerability and promoting optimal outcomes


Course aims

  • To increase understanding of the impact of severe visual impairment on early child development, and the consequent need for early intervention with parents
  • To present systematic approaches to the assessment of vision and development in the early years and consequent  practical guidance including the benefits of multidisciplinary developmental monitoring throughout the early years in order to identify children who are showing particular developmental vulnerability
  • To increase awareness of the benefits of active liaison between health and education professionals and between secondary and tertiary services
  • To learn about the research evidence base underpinning clinical practice with particular reference to the Optimum project and other work of the Developmental Vision research team

Who should attend

  • Paediatricians, Clinical or Educational Psychologists, Specialist Teachers for Visual Impairment and Educational Support staff, Ophthalmologists, Orthoptists, Optometrists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists or other professionals engaged in the field. Please note the conference is not intended for parents of visually impaired children

Course content will include

  • Aetiology, diagnosis and management of ocular conditions causing severe VI
  • Functional vision assessment and promotion
  • Developmental assessment, including reference to the Reynell Zinkin scales, and developmental promotion
  • Early intervention and support for the young child with severe VI, including reference to the Developmental Journal for infants and young children with VI
  • Social communication difficulties and evolving autism in young children with severe VI
  • Behaviour difficulties and supporting parents in management and care
  • Visual difficulties in children with complex needs
  • Cerebral visual impairment – a multidisciplinary disorder – assessment and management
  • Building your local multidisciplinary paediatric VI team

Tues 11th November
09.00 Welcome and Introduction
09.15-10.00 Impact of visual impairment on early development and vision; Dr Alison Salt Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
10.00-10.25 Vision assessment: Orthoptist’s role: Acuity measurement & methods; Bronwen Walters, Head of Orthoptist Unit, Great Ormond St Hospital
10.25-10.50 Refraction and prescription; low vision aids;  Lynne Speedwell, Head of Optometry Unit,
Great Ormond St Hospital
10.50-11.15 Visual electrophysiology; Dr Dorothy Thompson, Co-Director, Dept Electrophysiology,
Great Ormond St Hospital
11.30-12.00 Functional vision development and assessment in severe VI; Dr Jenefer Sargent
Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
12.00-12.30 Vision Promotion; Dr Alison Salt, Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
13.30--14.15 Aetiology, diagnosis and management of ocular conditions causing severe VI;
Mr Richard Bowman, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Great Ormond St Hospital
14.15 15.15 Assessment of development: history, observation and limitations of ‘standard’ paediatric tools; Dr Ngozi Oluonye, Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
15.45-17.00 Assessment of development: developmental materials including RZ scales (early cognition, language): benefits and limitations; Dr Naomi Dale, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Great Ormond St Hospital

Weds 12th November
9.00-10.00 Developmental setback, social communication difficulties and autism in children with VI; Dr Alison Salt, Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
10.00-11.00 Manifestations of visual difficulty in children with complex multidisability needs; Dr Jenefer Sargent, Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
11.15-12.15 Cerebral visual impairment: diagnostic considerations and assessment;  
Dr Jenefer Sargent, Consultant Paediatrician, Great Ormond St Hospital
12.15 – 1.00 Current materials and frameworks to support child progress Dr Naomi Dale
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Great Ormond St Hospital Early intervention and support; Jackie Osborne, Specialist Advisory Teacher, Visual Impairment, Hertfordshire County Council
2.45 – 3.45 New insights from current research regarding intervention; 
Great Ormond St Hospital and Optimum Developmental Vision research team 
4.00- 4.45 Building your local multidisciplinary team/Q and A session/group discussion Representatives from VIP-SIG (Visual Impairment Paediatric Special Interest Group)

Course Coordinators

  • Dr Alison Salt and Dr Jenefer Sargent (Consultant Paediatricians), Dr Naomi Dale (Consultant Clinical Psychologist) from the Developmental Vision team, Wolfson Neurodisability Service, GOSH



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