Posted on: Tuesday 21 December 2021
Around 60 children with visual impairments have been given packs filled with sensory toys and equipment so they can take part in special playgroup sessions at home.
The Positive Looking Playgroup, run by the SenCom Service, supports children to develop and use their vision, develop communication skills and understand their environment.
The children were given the sensory packs at the start of the pandemic when the playgroups were unable to take place in person. Since then, the groups have returned to a combination of face-to-face and online classes.
The packs, which include mirrors, pompoms and lights have been invaluable in helping children like Cooper to continue to develop at home.
Tara Morgan, from Blaenavon, has been accessing the service with her one-year-old son Cooper for the past few months, she said “The group has been so welcoming, and Cooper has benefited from improving his hand-eye coordination as a result of taking part in the activities and games offered.
“With Cooper recently being prescribed to wear glasses, I have been struggling to get him to wear them, but the staff have given me lot of ideas to try and it’s been really helpful.”
Andrew Jones, who is a Qualified Teacher of Vision and Multi-Sensory Impairment at SenCom, said “Our vision impairment preschool is led by experienced staff from the vision impairment service and meets once a week. The group provides parents with the opportunity to meet each other.
“We have found that this has proved to be a great support for many of the parents of the service’s pupils over past years. Additionally, the face-to-face group session means that parents can work directly with the VI staff. In this way parents can learn from the VI specialists how best to support the development of their child’s vision and communication.
“We would also like to thank local lady Pauline Diamond, who ran a half marathon and raised £1,000 for the service. Tonie boxes have been purchased with the monies and are used at playgroups and with pupils in schools.”
In-person playgroup sessions start at 10am at the SenCom offices in Llantarnam, with virtual sessions starting at 11am.
SenCom is a regional local authority service comprising three specialist teams that work with children and young people who have a speech, language, communication need or who have a hearing, vision or multisensory impairment.
For more information about the playgroup and wider support services on offer, please email VIS@Torfaen.gov.uk or visit the Torfaen website.