SchoolScreener Vision & Hearing Screening: Empowering SEND Teams

Children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities) often require unique action plans from support staff. These help provide the appropriate level of support to allow all children to achieve their full potential.

This could be something as simple as changing the colour of class-resources for someone who is colour-blind. Or, it could be all the way up to providing one-to-one, in-class support for a child with severe learning difficulties.

Undiagnosed Sensory Impairments: a Double-Edged Sword for children with SEND

Regardless of severity, many children with other special educational needs also suffer from impaired vision or hearing. 

Particularly for those children who also suffer from intellectual or social impairments, this can be difficult for the child to communicate. After all, it can be hard even for a fully grown adult to know that their sight or hearing is off, without a professional examination. This is of the utmost importance when it’s considered that, as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association notes, “hearing loss in children can lead to:

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Learning problems in school
  • Feeling bad about himself
  • Having trouble making friends”

Furthermore, a 2021 study of Danish children demonstrated that “children with severe hearing loss are known to have more behavioural problems and may perform worse at school than children without. Few large-scale studies of slight to mild hearing loss are available.”

After all, how would they know that they aren’t seeing – or hearing – what everyone else is?

When coupled with social or intellectual issues that may make communicating difficult, this problem is only compounded upon. 

So, undiagnosed sensory impairments can contribute to a lack of educational progress in children with other disabilities or special educational needs, which belies the importance of being able to deliver screening for these conditions in a timely and cost-effective manner. crucially highlights the following: “When treated with pediatric hearing aids or cochlear implants, kids with hearing loss are just as capable as their peers. However, if childhood hearing loss is left undiagnosed and untreated, it can have an impact that’s similar to a learning or behavioral disorder.”  

Some children are even misdiagnosed as SEND when all they require is a simple intervention, to correct the sensory deficit. This can be as simple as sending them for a full eye-exam and getting them the right specs, or getting a full audiological exam for a hearing-aid. 


How can SchoolScreener help?

That’s where SchoolScreener® comes in. We allow you to deliver screening for common hearing and vision problems, in school, in just minutes – with no clinical training or expertise required.

If any issues are detected, then referral is quick & easy. SchoolScreener streamlines this process, too – we automatically generate all referral (and parent!) communications, as standard. If the child fails the screen in-school, send them on to the professional to get their full exam.

child smiling wearing audiometer and headphones

Find out more about SchoolScreener and SEND at Tes SEND Show!

If left untreated, the effects of hearing or vision loss can be massive. One source notes that “children who have mild to moderate hearing loss but do not get help are very likely to be behind their hearing peers by anywhere from one to four grade levels.”

To find out more about the effects of undiagnosed vision or hearing impairment, come and visit Stand#48, at the Tes SEND Show on 7th-8th October. We would love to see you there, and hear all your thoughts about how SEND teams and screening can – and should – interact. 

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