Walsall Society for the Blind are horrified at the news that a proposal is going to be made by Walsall Council to remove the Rehabilitation Services in Walsall.

Sensory Support Services would be required to complete statutory responses only, which would be the registered list of those with sight loss.

Rehabilitation Officers are trained specialists, who work with people of all ages, including children and older people who are affected by deteriorating vision and sight loss. They complete specialist assessments of a person’s vision needs, identifying any visual difficulties, possible solutions and agreeing a rehabilitation action plan visit this site.

This can include a variety of specialist training and support including:

Specialist knowledge and skills on how to use low vision devices and magnifiers, high-tech video magnifiers and close circuit TV, the use of non-optical devices and training a person to make the most of their vision by using specific sight strategies.

Providing mobility training so that visually impaired people can get about safely, both indoors and outdoors. Providing training in the use of mobility aids, such as white canes. Route training in specific areas, e.g. teaching the route to the shops or work. Developing orientation techniques and building confidence to become an independent traveller.

They can develop a visually impaired person’s skills for daily living. For example kitchen skills, making a hot/cold drink, preparation of small snacks and cooking a meal. Skills for managing personal care, such as applying make-up, shaving and dressing and identifying and taking medication appropriately.

They can support with developing communication and information skills for a visually impaired person. Whether they use written formats and read large print, use the telephone, access audible information using tapes, CDs and memory sticks, using IT equipment with specialist software and hardware, that also enables access to the internet. Information can also be provided on tactile formats such as Braille and Moon.

Rehabilitation Officers often take on a counselling role supporting people through what can be an emotionally traumatic period for them and for their loved ones. In addition to one on one support with clients, there are also various support groups, a volunteer befriending service for people with both hearing and visual impairments and a family project for parents of profoundly deaf children.

Rehabilitation Officers are specialist holistic therapists qualified to analyze and assess difficulties in a persons vision and to provide therapy and training to enable them to maintain, regain or acquire the skills needed to live as independently as that person is able to do.

Will these crucial services be lost??????