Useful Organisations Directory


Council for Disabled Children

The Council for Disabled Children is the umbrella body for the Disabled children’s sector, bringing together professionals, practitioners and policy-makers. It does not provide one to one support for parents but has an excellent online library of resources that parents can access to find out more about disability policy and practice including a selection of materials specifically written with parents in mind.

The following resources make a good starting point:

Information, Advice and Support Services

There are Information, Advice and Support (IAS) services in every local area in England who provide advice to young people and parent carers. You can find contact details for your local IAS by following this link.

National Network of Parent Carer Forums

There are over 150 local Parent Carer Forums across England which are used by over 52,000 parents every year. You can find your local group by clicking the above link.


The National Sensory Impairment Partnership (NatSIP) is a partnership of organisations working together to improve outcomes for children and young people with sensory impairment (SI). NatSIP is funded by the Department for Education (DfE) in England for provision of specialist information, advice, support and training to improve the outcomes for children and young people with sensory impairments.

NatSIP has a range of resources on its website and also runs courses including “Understanding the needs of children and young people with vision impairment” which is an excellent course for teachers and teaching assistants.

The agreed purpose of NatSIP is:

  • to improve educational outcomes for children and young people with sensory impairment, closing the gap with their peers, through joint working with all who have an interest in the success of these young people
  • to help children achieve more and fulfil the potential of children and young people who have Sensory Impairment (SI)
  • to promote a national model for the benchmarking of clear progress and impact criteria for children and young people who have SI
  • to support a well-trained SI workforce responsive to the Government agenda for education
  • to inform and advise the Department for Education in England and other national agencies on the education of children and young people with SI
  • to promote collaboration between services, schools, professional bodies and voluntary bodies working with children and young people who have SI
  • to promote collaborative working between education, health and social care professionals in the interest of children and young people who have SI

Contact a Family

Contact a Family provide direct advice and support services to parents and carers. A free national helpline is open Monday to Friday between 9:30am and 5:00pm: 0808 808 3555

Guide Dogs – Children and Young People’s Services

In supporting children, young people and their families, Guide Dogs offers:

  • Guide dogs for children and young people
  • Movement matters habilitation service, including assessments, mobility, orientation and independence training, parent guidance days and professional workshops.
  • Family Support– Trained and experienced staff are there for parents with practical advice and support from the moment their child is diagnosed with a visual impairment. Starting Point is a guide for parents from first diagnosis including a telephone helpline, online and printed resources.
  • CustomEyes Books– We can produce books in large-print, tailor-made to suit a child’s eye condition. The service includes fact and popular fiction titles, annuals and National Curriculum revision guides for home and school.
  • Education support– We offer expert, independent help and advice in accessing the right specialist support. We help make sure the individual needs of children and young people with a visual impairment are met in the best educational environment for them.
  • Access Technology– Technology can really help ‘level the playing field’ for children with visual impairment. We provide expert individual assessments and grants giving children and young people access to personalised equipment to help them communicate, study and play.
  • Recreational activities – We offer an expanding UK-wide programme of day and weekend family events, plus social and adventure activities.

IPSEA – Independent Parental Special Education Advice

An excellent resource for parents to access independent special education advice. IPSEA offers a telephone advice line for parents, a telephone call booking system, face to face sessions, a Tribunal helpline and SEND training for parents and school staff. The website is also packed with legal briefings, guides to SEN support, the EHC Plan process, templates, pro forma letters etc.


SOS SEN offer a free, friendly, independent and confidential telephone helpline for parents and others looking for information and advice on Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). They offer walk in advice sessions and are expanding their services across the country.  SOS SEN concentrate on helping people to find their way through the legal and procedural maze which is so daunting to so many who try to obtain satisfactory provision for a child’s special needs.


Are you a young person up to the age of 29 and have a vision impairment, or are you a parent of a vision impaired child? Then we want to hear from you. LOOK is here to help you improve your self-confidence, develop skills and make new connections.

We do this through:

  • LOOK Mentoring project – become a mentor or find a mentor.
  • LOOK Skype chat groups – connect with others and share experiences.
  • LOOK youth forums – make new friends and exchange ideas.
  • LOOK voices – get your voice heard and become part of our creative team. We are looking for bloggers, vloggers and, for our podcasts, roving reporters.
  • LOOK leadership events – come and broaden your horizons.

Royal Society for Blind Children

RSBC offers a family support worker service and can support you to. Are decisions about your child’s future, their education and help you take the lead in developing your child’s independence and life skills.  They also offer employability support and Social groups for 11-17 and 18-25 year olds in England and Wales.


Scope offer a free confidential helpline 08088003333 and a wealth of resources on their website for many types of disabilities.


Special Needs Jungle

Parent-led information, resources and informed opinion about children and young people 0-25.

Also on Facebook.


Visionary is a membership organisation. Visionary’s aim is to establish a strong sustainable national network of high quality local voluntary organisations to join up with national organisations and public sector providers to ensure that all people living with sight loss in the U.K. can access the services they need at a local level.


Blind in Business

Blind in Business help people who are blind or have partial sight into work. Our Training and Employment Services help you to identify and achieve your ambitions. We offer help and support with finding work, the interview process, and obtaining equipment to help you succeed. We also support employers in hiring and working with people with vision impairments

Partially Sighted Society

The Partially Sighted Society provides information, advice, training, magnifiers and electronic low vision aids and clear print material for anybody with a vision impairment to help them to make the best use of their remaining sight.


Provide grants for IT equipment including laptops, software, desktops and iPads. All items supplied through the grant scheme are for home use only, not for school or college. Conditions apply.


It is worth asking your early years setting, school or QTVI to join this forum. It is moderated by RNIB and is an excellent online forum of QTVIs, learning support assistants and technicians who provide peer to peer resource sharing, advice and best practice on support for vision impaired learners.


Positive Eye delivers commercial courses, training, resources and products for educational practitioners who are working with children who are blind, have a vision impairment, or who work with children with special educational needs and disability.


Please see under Sports for organisations offering sporting opportunities


Action for Blind People fully merged with RNIB in April 2017. It provides practical and emotional advice and support across England to people who are blind or partially sighted and their friends and family. Find out more, here:

Residential holidays

Action Activity Breaks are residential holidays for children and young people, aged 8 – 17 years, who have sight loss and have a good ability to understand and follow instructions. Our activity breaks give an opportunity for children and young people to meet other people of a similar age, with sight loss. For some this could be the first time that they meet and share experiences of this kind with their peers. Not only do the breaks provide a great opportunity for improving social skills, they also encourage personal independence, and help teach new life skills. With our help and support everyone is encouraged to meet new challenges, and achieve their personal goals.

The Amber Trust  

Amber’s Vision is to give blind and partially sighted children the best possible chance to fulfil their musical aspirations. Amber Music Awards exist to provide financial grants to individual children and young people in support of this.

Little Amber is an innovative service offered by The Amber Trust. It aims to enable blind or partially sighted babies and young children to engage with music by providing families and professionals with resources and ideas for music-making.

Outlook Trust

Adventure Sports Activity Weekend Breaks and Holidays For Blind and Partially Sighted Children.

Seable Holidays

Accessible and active holidays for disabled people including blind, partially sighted people and wheelchair users


VICTA run excursions and UK / overseas residential trips. VICTA also provide grants for IT equipment including laptops, software, desktops and iPads. All items supplied through the grant scheme are for home use only, not for school or college. Conditions apply.


VocalEyes provide audio described events around the UK for blind and partially sighted people to experience and enjoy arts and heritage.


BBC Radio 4 InTouch programme

Tuesdays 20:40

Weekly News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted. Available as podcast and on BBC iPlayer.

RNIB Connect Radio




Useful Reading

RNIB information guide for parents: 

RNIB has recently published an information guide for parents including general information on:

  • understanding vision impairment
  • the development of vision in infants and young children
  • who can help including health, education, social care professionals

Early years

  • learning to communicate, listen and read
  • developing the senses and lighting and visual stimulation
  • objects and toys and making play and learning fun
  • mobility and safety
  • choosing a school

RNIB guide to what to look for in an early years setting:

This guide gives advice on choosing an early years setting for a child with a visual impairment.

RNIB Focus on foundation guide

Guide offering practical ideas for the successful inclusion of children with sight loss in early years settings including reception classes. It is written for all who work in early years settings but may be of interest to parents.

RNIB Mobility and independence guide

The mobility and independence early years guide has information on movement in the early years for children with vision impairment. It suggests ways of encouraging mobility from birth onwards, including for children with complex needs. It also covers some ideas and tips to help you with teaching daily living skills for this age group.

RNIB Mobility and independence at school focuses on how to encourage children and young people to become independent in their learning and play

RNIB Social inclusion and social bonding at Nursery level

The guide explores social inclusion and social bonding at Nursery level, looking at some ideas to encourage blind and partially sighted young children learn to socialise and make friends.

RNIB Sensory development resource box guide

This explores ideas for toys and resources which will be useful for early years practitioners, and also parents or carers, who are working to support a young child with vision impairment:

RNIB Play Guide

This Play guide outlines the importance of play for children with a vision impairment. It describes different types of play and provides information on choosing toys and creating play environments to support children in their play

RNIB kitchen learning resources

Guidelines on stimulating your child’s vision around the home.

RNIB strategies for teaching

Ideas for teaching a full range of subjects to children and young people with vision impairment

The Council for Disabled Children

An extremely comprehensive and detailed source of information for parents, including development of vision in children, the effect of vision impairment in children on development, how to handle vision impairment with your child, play and learning in the early years, choosing an early years setting, resources, then school and into adulthood.

The Council for Disabled Children has produced “SEN and disability in the early years: A toolkit”.  Each section of the toolkit provides a briefing on a particular aspect of the SEN and disability reforms as they apply to early years providers.

Each section is based on the statutory requirements and the guidance from the early years, the SEN and the disability frameworks, and draws on a range of relevant practice guidance and other materials to provide an accessible guide to SEN and disability in the early years.