Sensory Impairment Service

The Sensory Impairment Service offers support to people of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing; blind or partially sighted, or both (deafblind or dual sensory impaired). 

The Team works with people (including children) and their families/carers to help maintain or regain independence and quality of life.

If you wish to arrange either an individual appointment for advice, an assessment or even a talk for your local community group, please contact the Sensory Impairment Team, based in Ellis Lodge, Argyll Road, Dunoon via (01369) 708484.

Help and advice is available from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

What does the Sensory Impairment Service do?

There are three members of staff in the Sensory Impairment Team  who visit people at home to carry out assessments to establish what they might require to assist them. There is a Social Worker and a Rehabilitation Worker for people with visual impairments (VI) and a Social Worker for people with Hearing Impairments (HI).

The team’s Social Worker (VI) assists people with all types of visual impairment . He/she can assess individual needs, provide information, review Welfare Benefits position, offer emotional and social support, liaise with other agencies and arrange appropriate services.

The Rehabilitation Worker can offer assessment, advice, information and  training in independent living skills, getting around safely, communication and  making best possible use of remaining eyesight.

Equipment can be given to people with a visual impairment following assessment so, for example, they can cook safely and independently again, use a washing machine, have lighting which allows them to see to carry out activities, enables them to listen to radio or talking books and can enable them to read confidential mail. Training is provided in the use of all the equipment. The Rehabilitation Officer can also provide mobility and orientation training using a variety of methods which means people can find their way around their own homes, school and in the community.

The Social Worker (HI) works with people of all ages who have hearing impairments ranging from a moderate loss to a complete loss of hearing. He/she carries out assessments and then meets the needs where possible with equipment provision, advice and support on how to make the best use of residual hearing,  offer social and emotional support, review Welfare Benefits, provide information and liaise with other partner organisations.

People with hearing impairments can be given doorbells or phone devices which flash when activated to alert the person that there is someone at the door or on the phone. Alerts can also be given to parents with hearing impairments to let them know their baby is crying/distressed. Smoke alarms which vibrate can help deaf people safely escape from fire, especially at night. TV amplifiers allow hearing impaired people to listen to TV at a volume they can control via headphones without loud volumes upsetting relatives or neighbours, which can cause strife.

There is also assistance to people to retain their present employment in spite of deteriorating hearing or vision and to enable people to take part in leisure activities.

How do you access the service?

You can contact the Sensory Impairment team directly by phone on 01369 708484, textphone 01369 702988 or write to Argyll and Bute Sensory Impairment Team, Ellis Lodge, Argyll Road, Dunoon, as long as the individual being referred is aware of the referral and happy that someone will visit them at home to assess their requirements.  Referrals are also taken from Area Teams who identify a Sensory Impairment problem during their assessment. Referrals also come from specialists in Health. Referrals for children with sensory impairments can come from families, schools, paediatricians, or other specialists.

Gerry Gallacher is the Team Leader for the Sensory Impairment Team.

Alex Mulholland is the Rehabilitation Officer for visually impaired people.

Eilidh Fitzpatrick is the Rehabilitation Worker for visually impaired people.

Sarah Black is the Social Work Assistant for hearing impaired people.

Administration is Stephen McIntyre.

Help and advice is available from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Referrals are acknowledged and appointments made, as soon as possible, to visit the individual at home.

Any complaints will be dealt with through the complaints procedure and will always try to be resolved as soon as possible at a local level.

Further support

We have put together some information on what support is available for people in Argyll and Bute who are hard of hearing, to give you an idea of some of the common problems people experience and what can be done to help - you can find out more on our support and information for people who are hard of hearing page.

The Joint Local British Sign Language (BSL) Plan for Argyll and Bute 2018 – 2024 sets out actions to promote and support the use of BSL and was developed with input from users of BSL in Argyll and Bute.

Read the Joint Local BSL Plan here >

Other websites

Information, help and support for blind, partially sighted and/or deafblind adults and children:

Visibility Scotland has been working with blind and partially sighted people for 150 years and provides a range of services and opportunities for people who have experienced sight loss. They have a variety of services available including social, recreational and learning opportunities for people to take part in. Visibility also provides information to family, friends and professionals.

Guide Dogs - provide mobility and freedom to blind and partially sighted people.  They also campaign for the rights of people with visual impairment, educate the public about eye care and fund eye disease research.

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK's leading charity offering information, support and advice to almost two million people with sight loss.

Sense Scotland -  have been working for over 20 years with children and adults who have communication support needs because of deafblindness, sensory impairment, learning and physical disabilities.

Their aims - To help deafblind people in Scotland live as rightful members of their own communities and to encourage and support contact between deafblind people and sighted hearing people; To liaise with health and social service providers to make appropriate assistance available to deafblind people in Scotland; To work in partnership with statutory and other agencies to improve the quality of life of deafblind people; To raise awareness of both the needs and potential of deafblind people; To encourage provision of facilities, services and support for deafblind people.

Information, help and support for deaf and hearing impaired adults and children

RNID  Scotland represents the 758,000 people who are deaf or hard of hearing in Scotland. Their staff and volunteers offer a wide range of services, including communication, information and employment services.

Deaf Action - their aim is to raise awareness of the needs and rights of deaf people, challenge discrimination, and provide services to promote independence and quality of life

National Childrens Deaf Society - The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people.

Hearing dogs -  train hearing dogs to alert deaf people to select household sounds and danger signals in the home, work place and in public buildings - providing a life-changing level of independence, confidence and security.

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