Basingstoke MP Maria Miller has pledged her support to children and young people with a vision impairment through Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign.
At a Parliamentary event hosted by the charity Guide Dogs, Maria Miller met children, young people and their families to talk about the challenges they face in the education system.
Supporting the campaign, Maria Miller MP said:
‘It was so inspiring to meet Chloe and to hear how her lovely buddy dog Sapphire has helped her with cope with her vision impairment and the special friendship that they have formed. I hope that this kind is widely made available for children and young people with vision impairment to ensure they have access to the support they need.”
Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign is calling for greater recognition of vision impairment throughout the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system. The critical role of specialist professionals needs to be prioritised, and more support should be given at an earlier stage to help prevent young people with sight loss from falling behind.
Recent research conducted for Guide Dogs has found that 69% of teachers lack confidence that they have the right skills to support disabled children, including those with a vision impairment, to reach their full potential. This is reflected in outcomes for children with sight loss, who are significantly behind their peers in terms of academic attainment.
Guide Dogs is the UK’s largest charitable provider of services for children and young people with a vision impairment and helps provide specialist professional support from habilitation specialists working with teachers and special education staff or advising on assistive technologies.