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Sensory Needs Service

The Sensory Needs Service assess and support hearing impaired (HI) and visually impaired (VI) children of all ages and abilities.

We work directly with families, settings and schools, promoting inclusion of children with sensory needs.

What we offer

After we assess the child’s needs, we support with:

  • direct teaching for HI and VI pupils in maintained schools
  • expert advice for teachers 
  • mobility training for teachers and other professionals
  • resources, advice and strategies that they can use
  • specialist technologies for curriculum access

We also run four Hearing Support Facilities in East Sussex for our highest need pupils.

Refer to the Sensory Needs Service

Most referrals come from the health service. Hearing and visual impairments are often identified before a child starts school.  

We also welcome referrals from schools. 

How we assess children

We will contact the family or school to discuss by phone, or arrange a visit to assess the child.

We use National Sensory Impaired Partnership criteria and ask questions with graded responses to score support levels. The total score gives a rough guide to the level of support needed.

We also consider their educational placement. A severely visually impaired pupil in a special school may score the same as a pupil in mainstream, but the level of support might vary. A special school may already use strategies that we would suggest, so additional support is not required.

Hearing impaired pupils with the highest needs often attend our Hearing Support Facilities.

We do not have a dedicated visual impairment support facility. If a profoundly visually impaired pupil needs to use Braille, we can provide a package of support to help them in their mainstream placement. Schools will also receive extra funding.

Contact the Sensory Needs Service

Email: scsn@eastsussex.gov.uk

Phone: 01273 481 154

These resources are for teaching staff, parents and carers.

Hearing impairment

20 top tips for schools with hearing impaired pupils [360.0 KB] [pdf]

Fact sheets

These factsheets describe different types of hearing loss and offer strategies for inclusion.

Mild hearing loss [90.0 KB] [pdf]

Moderate hearing loss [88.6 KB] [pdf]

Severe and profound hearing loss [90.9 KB] [pdf]

High frequency hearing loss [89.8 KB] [pdf]

Conductive hearing loss [91.4 KB] [pdf]

Unilateral hearing loss [88.9 KB] [pdf]


National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) offers advice to parents and professionals working with hearing impaired children.


- Tips for teaching deaf children with a mild hearing loss

Watch on YouTube: "Tips for teaching deaf children with a mild hearing loss"

This video explains

  • the major impact a mild hearing loss can have on a child in school
  • what professionals can do to support a child with a mild hearing loss in their class

- Flintstones hearing loss

Watch on YouTube: "Flintstones hearing loss"

This is an audio video clip of different types of hearing loss, and what it sounds like to a child who is not wearing their hearing aids.  

- Guide to hearing aid management

Watch on YouTube: "Guide to hearing aid management"

Step-by-step instructions from an audiologist on how to change the tubing in a child's hearing aids.

Visual impairment

10 top tips for schools with visually impaired pupils [399.0 KB] [pdf]

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