BHISS - Sensory Needs Team

The BHISS Sensory Needs team supports sensory impaired (SI) children and young people in nurseries, schools and other educational settings, and at home. They work to promote the inclusion of children and young people with hearing, visual, or multi-sensory impairments.

Who are we?

The BHISS Sensory Needs team consists of specialist SEN teachers who hold mandatory qualifications in hearing or visual impairment., and SEN specialist practitioners with qualifications in BrailleBritish Sign Language and habilitation. The habilitation practitioner provides mobility and independence training to ensure that children and young people with visual impairment are enabled to achieve the greatest possible independence and maximise their life chances.

The BHISS team aims to remove barriers to learning, so that children and young people with SI can fulfil their potential. This includes helping schools to support the social and emotional wellbeing of their pupils, as well as enabling pupils to improve their life skills and become more independent.

BHISS Sensory Needs works with schools and other settings

The BHISS Sensory Needs team offers a range of support to nurseries, schools and other settings, including:

  • Providing vision and hearing assessments
  • Training staff to better support students with SI, and be aware of their needs
  • Providing advice to staff, including advice about specialist equipment.
  • Monitoring support given to students with SI, and their progress
  • Support with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan assessments
  • Specialist teaching
  • Working directly with children and young people and their families.
  • Referring children and young people to other services, e.g. speech and language therapy and cochlear implant centres, as appropriate.
  • Working in partnership with other agencies

Find out more about how BHISS Sensory Needs works with schools and other settings [PDF 224KB]

BHISS Sensory Needs works with children and young people and families

The BHISS Sensory Needs team works with children and young people with SI to develop skills such as:

  • Independent living and self-advocacy
  • Travel skills (including cane training)
  • Computer and technology skills
  • British Sign language
  • Braille

They work in partnership with parent carers to support students with SI.

The team offers several groups and events for sensory-impaired children and their families, including Family Sign Language, a Parent Braille Group, after-school and play groups for children with hearing impairments, and more.

More about groups and events for children with sensory impairments and their families.

How to access support from BHISS Sensory Needs

Sensory impairments are usually identified through newborn hearing screening, or during regular health and developmental checks carried out by a doctor, health visitor or other medical professional. Children with identified sensory impairments will usually be getting support from BHISS Sensory Needs before they start school and this will continue once they do. Some children's needs may only get picked up during scheduled hearing and sight tests at school, usually during their Reception year. These children will be referred to the relevant health service (such as Children's Audiology) for further assessment and to BHISS to ensure they get the right support in school. If you have any concerns about your child's sight or hearing, you can speak to their class teacher or the school SENCO or seek advice from your GP or an optician.

BHISS Sensory Needs is a free service offered to all early years settings and schools funded by the local authority. Independent schools (also known as private schools) are able to access this service on a “traded” basis.

Contact details


Telephone: 01273 293610