Visiting Teacher Service
What is the Visiting Teacher Service?
The Visiting Teacher Service (VTS) is provided by specially trained teachers to children who are deaf or hard of hearing or blind or visually impaired and their parents or guardians. The teacher will visit the child at home.
The VST support can begin shortly following the birth of the child and continue through primary and post-primary education where appropriate.
If necessary, the VST can provide a teaching service for the pre-school child in the home.
You can find out more the Visiting Teacher Service on the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) website.
The Visiting Teacher Service is free of charge.
Visiting teachers for blind and visually impaired children
Visiting teachers work with blind and visually impaired children and provide guidance and support to their parents.
The visiting teacher can assess the effects of visual impairment and explain the needs of each child now and in the future.
In addition, they provide information and advice on educational planning for children and young people with visual impairments. Visiting teachers advise schools (including pre-schools) about suitable teaching methods, classroom management strategies and environmental adaptions to support students with visual impairments in mainstream schools.
They conduct assessments and give advice on equipment commonly used by people who are visually impaired and advice on additional personnel resources, when needed.
Visiting teachers for deaf children
Visiting teachers work with deaf or hard-of-hearing children and provide guidance and support to their parents.
Applications for home tuition in sign language should be made to the visiting teacher.
Visiting teachers also monitor the child’s language development and communication skills and give information and advice to parents on pre-school and school placements.
The visiting teacher works with the principal and other staff to plan and put in place suitable supports for your child at school. They can provide tuition with special emphasis on language development and monitor the educational progress of your child.
Assistive technology and mobility
Visiting teachers can refer children for assessment of low-vision aids and then train the children in their use. They help children develop tactile and other sensory skills and give advice on self-help skills and other skills needed for independent living.
They provide support in the development of pre-Braille skills where necessary and give some instruction in mobility where appropriate. Teachers can also refer the child for further mobility instruction where required.
Visiting teachers evaluate the acoustic environment for a deaf or hard-of-hearing child and help them manage audiology equipment.
Free Visiting Teacher Service
The service is free.
There is no fee for the Visiting Teacher Service. It is open to all children living in Ireland who need the service.
How to get a visit from the Visiting Teacher Service?
Before a child is assessed for the Visiting Teacher Service, you must complete a referral form for the Visiting Teacher Service (pdf).
You must provide an up-to-date audiology or ophthalmology report, with your form.
You should send the referral application directly to the local Visiting Teacher.
The following can make a request to the VST:
- The Health Service Executive (HSE)
- Eye clinics
- Vision Ireland
- The Cochlear Implant Unit, Beaumont Hospital
Any health professional who wishes to refer a child should first discuss their concerns fully with the child's parents or guardians.
The VST will assess your child to find out if the service is suitable for your child.
No child is too young to get a visit from the visiting teacher service
The Visiting Teacher Service also accepts referrals regarding children where the visual impairment or deafness is the compounding rather than the major disabling condition.