The Coronavirus disrupted all of our lives in so many ways. With schools across the UK closing, life’s routine was interrupted as many parents found themselves at home with their child, juggling their own work and their child’s learning needs.
Following our online Home Learning Q&A session with Education Specialist John Milligan from the Norfolk Virtual School, John Turnbull – Specialist Education Officer, Jemma Kegan, Advice Team Manager, and Andrea Davies – Special Education Officer from the Guide Dogs UK Education Team, we compiled a list of FAQs, top tips and recommended resources. We will continually add to this list, and please do contact us if your specific question is not covered here.
Home Learning Podcast
If you were unable to attend our Home Schooling your Visually Impaired child Q&A, you can listen to the recording by pressing the button below.
Home Learning Resources
RNIB have two key resources online which will be updated on a regular basis:
For families please visit – https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/independent-living/Covid-19-CYPF-SAFAQ
And for professionals – https://www.rnib.org.uk/educationprofessionals
Resources for parents to use with children and young people of all ages, from very young to those studying at A-Level:
Accessible home learning with RNIB Bookshare – information for parents
If you have a child who has a print disability that affects their reading RNIB Bookshare can help with access to nearly half a million curriculum and leisure titles in accessible formats at all educational levels. If your child does not already have access to this service through their school, RNIB don’t want any child to miss out on the books and resources they need whilst they are having to learn at home. Please email them proof of your child’s disability along with your name and your contact details and RNIB will make sure they get access to the services for titles they need. Contact Bookshare@rnib.org.uk or tel. 0300 3038313.
American Printing House for the Blind
APH has uploaded a huge variety of online learning videos for a variety of ages:
Humanware offering free weekly webinars around braille tech on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4pm:
Dolphin Super Nova
Dolphin is offering 3 months free access to its Super Nova screen reader and magnification software.
Special Needs Jungle
SNJ has compiled an outstanding range of online resources:
Twinkl is giving parents and teachers free access to resources for the next month. It covers the ‘Ultimate membership’ package. If you don’t cancel after the offer period, it’s £8.50 for the following months (which is still great value for money!).
https://www.twinkl.co.uk/offer use the code UKTWINKLHELPS
Audible is offering a variety of audio-books, free-of-charge, with titles for the littlest of listeners right through to classic tomes:
Part Sight still open for orders of bold-lined school exercise books and other resources for any parents who are home-schooling their children.
They also have free VI sample packs if parents are unsure of what books to order.
Q. “How can I get hard copy Braille books and materials now that schools are closed?”
QTVI: “Use resources like the RNIB Bookshare or ClearVision for books to read with children.”
Q: “My daughter gets very stressed when she can’t do something and I’m worried about the strain it’s putting on our relationship.”
QTVI: “Try not to worry about keeping up with your child’s peers. Instead, read at a pace that is comfortable.”
Q: “We don’t have the tech at home to assist my son with his learning. What can we do?”
QTVI: “Suppliers of specialist tech equipment are beginning to produce more user information to help during the crisis. HumanWare is now hosting free weekly live webinars to assist users with their products remotely.
Contact specialist VI tech suppliers to find out what remote learning resources they are offering or plan to implement.
The Equality Act sets out that a child is entitled to the tools they require to learn and study from home.
Contact your child’s school to request the tools and equipment needed for homeschooling.
Ask your school to provide online training for using tech equipment at home.”