Habilitation (mobility and independence) services for children and young people
Our Movement Matters service provides training to help blind children and young people in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales move around safely and independently.
Movement Matters also teaches important life skills such as handling money and preparing food. For children with complex and additional needs, Movement Matters can provide a tailored programme including body awareness, wheelchair mobility, use of remaining vision and more.
Sighted children learn by watching others; children with a vision impairment often need to be specifically taught skills and concepts they would not otherwise pick up. Movement Matters provides personalised training and support in mobility, orientation and independence skills from babyhood to adulthood. These are the skills that will help a blind child to do things like reach for a toy, make a snack, and develop their listening skills.
Our Movement Matters training unlocks possibilities – helping children and their families to understand that sight loss does not have to be a barrier to reaching their potential.
Guide Dogs' Movement Matters services include:
- assessments to establish a child’s or young person's needs
- mobility and independence skills training
- advice and support workshops for parents and carers
- practical work with friends, family and professionals to support children and young people with a vision impairment
These vital services are delivered by our qualified habilitation specialists, who work shoulder-to-shoulder with other professionals for example: speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists and other organisations including local authorities.
We also work with personal budgets and, where appropriate, may provide services directly to families.
What is Movement Matters and how does it help?
If you’d like to find out more about how we work together with families, carers and professionals to develop children’s vital movement, orientation and independent living skills, download our Movement Matters leaflet below. Please note: Children and Young People’s services differ slightly in Scotland. To find out more about the provision in Scotland, please download the Movement Matters Scotland leaflet.
- Habilitation Services for Children and Young People with Vision Impairment - what habilitation is and how is it provided (PDF 606Kb)
- Summary of the Quality Standards for the delivery of habilitation training to children and young people with vision impa (PDF 2284Kb)
- Delivery of habilitation training for children and young people with visual impairment (PDF 470Kb)
- Information for Commissioners - Habilitation Services for Children and Young People with Vision Impairment (PDF 448Kb)
Shyam is now capable of finding his way independently throughout the school, and has become much more outgoing and sociable with peers and teachers.
Outside of school, we’re building his confidence in busy public places using path finding techniques and learning routes as well as developing life skills such as coin counting and decision making.
Paul, habilitation specialist for 10 year-old Shyam