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Supporting Children in Kent with Special Educational Needs and Disability

Specialist Equipment

Specialist Equipment for:   

-  Hearing Impairment  

-  Visual Impairment


Hearing Impairment

What is specialist equipment?

Individual hearing technology such as hearing aids and cochlear implants are excellent, but learners can still struggle to hear in noisy situations and at a distance.   There is a range of additional equipment to support learners in their schools and settings which can help them to listen and learn.

What equipment can be provided?

The teacher of the deaf supporting a learner will be able to identify when additional assistive technology may be beneficial and submit a request for equipment.  This could be a personal Assistive Listening Device (ALD) such as a Roger System or streaming device.  This transmits sound directly from the speaker (wearing a transmitter or microphone) to the learner’s hearing equipment.  ALDs can be provided to learners with moderate, severe or profound hearing impairments.  Some schools opt for a Soundfield system which broadcasts to all students, which they purchase and maintain themselves.

What is the Audiology Equipment Panel?

All requests made by Qualified Teachers of the Deaf (QToD) are considered by the county Audiology Equipment Panel (AEP) which comprises a Qualified Educational Audiologist and experienced Qualified Teachers of the Deaf.  The panel considers a range of evidence and follow guidelines to ensure parity of provision across the county.

If agreed, the Educational Audiologist ensures the correct equipment is purchased on behalf of SEN and the STLS Sensory Service.  The Educational Audiologist ensures compatibility with personal hearing aids and any other systems currently used within the educational setting as well as NHS Health and Safety guidance.

Once issued, the QToD liaises with other audiological teams (local Hearing Services and Implant teams) to set up and balance equipment, as well as training students and staff in correct usage.

The equipment is loaned to the setting to improve access to the curriculum but remains the property of the purchaser.  The STLS Sensory Service continue to monitor and support the use of the device for as long as it remains beneficial for the learner.  Faulty items are returned to the Educational Audiologist for repair or replacement.  Replacement requests for lost items need to be submitted to the AEP.

For more information please email Clare Taylor, HI Coordinator and Educational Audiologist at


Visual Impairment

What is specialist equipment?

Learners with visual impairment may require specialist equipment to be able to access their learning alongside their sighted peers.  Specialist equipment that can be provided are electronic magnifiers, embossers and acoustic cabinets with appropriate software, Braille Notetakers, talking calculators and Perkins Brailler.

What equipment can be provided?

Through the support of a Qualified Teacher of Visual Impairment (QTVI), schools can apply for specialist equipment that will allow the learner to access the curriculum.  Schools will be expected to support learners through reasonable adjustments. iPads and Laptops are expected to be bought by the school and are classed as reasonable adjustment.

What is Assistive Technology Equipment Panel?

All requests for specialist equipment are considered by the Assistive Technology Equipment Panel (ATEP). This panel meets once a month to discuss any referrals.  The panel includes a QTVI and members of the Kent and Medway Communication and Assistive Technology Service (KMCAT).

Once a referral has been made the panel will look at all the information shared which should include any relevant information for instance an EHCP, provision plans and visual impairment report.  The CAT team will order and provide specialist equipment agreed by ATEP on behalf of the Kent Special Educational Needs team. 

For more information please email Lisa Bell, VI Coordinator, at