The Sensory Support Service offers advice and support to Middlesbrough residents who:
- are D/deaf or have hearing loss
- are blind, partially-sighted, or have sight loss
- are deafblind or have dual sensory loss
It's important to get the right support at the right time. If you've noticed a change to your eyesight and/or hearing, it's important to get checked by a health professional before contacting adult social care, as you may need medical help.
Contacting adult social care
If you, or someone you know, needs care and/or support, you should contact adult social care. A relative, friend, or other health care professional can help, or do it for you. We'll work with you to find out what your care and support needs are, and how best to meet them. This is called a sensory support assessment.
You can contact social care by:
Phone: 01642 065070
Minicom: 01642 726980
Text-only mobile: 07917 212 564
Contacting adult social care to ask for support is also called 'making a referral'.
Getting a sensory support assessment
When you contact us, you'll speak to the adult social care duty team first. They'll take some basic details, then give these to the sensory support officer, who will contact you to do a more detailed assessment. An assessment involves talking to you about yourself and the help you need.
It will include topics like:
- what is important to you
- what help you need to make decisions about your life
- which tasks you need support with - for example, getting up in the morning, washing and dressing, preparing meals, getting out and about in the community, carers support
- carers - for example, if you have a relative or friend who provides informal carer support, or you have - or need - formal carer support with tasks like meals and bathing
The assessment will help the sensory support officer to decide on the best support for you.
If you need an assessment with a social worker, for example if you need care from a care agency, we'll send your details to the social work team. They'll work with you to do a care needs record assessment. As part of the care needs record assessment, the social worker will ask you about how much money you have. This is to help decide how much you might be charged for the care you get.
If you're worried that you (or someone you know) may be experiencing - or are at risk of - abuse, harm, or neglect you must tell us as soon as possible. Contact adult social care by calling 01642 065070 or emailing the access and safeguarding team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Outside of office hours, you can call the emergency duty team on 01642 524552.
The results of the assessment
The aim of the sensory assessment is to get you the support you need to improve your independence and wellbeing. The results of the sensory support assessment will list any practical, environmental, or emotional support you need, and the support available.
This support may include:
- specialist equipment
- vision rehabilitation
- registration of eligible sensory factor
- a referral to the occupational therapy and/or social work teams
- a referral to digital inclusion, the sensory drop-in clinic, or the handyperson service
- a referral to the eye clinic liaison service
- information, advice, and guidance
If we cannot provide you with a service, we'll put you in contact with other organisations which can support you.
Getting registered on the sensory registers
Depending on your level and range of sight and/or hearing, you may be eligible to be added to the sensory registers. These registers are confidential, and being registered is not compulsory. Being on the register does not mean you're automatically entitled to benefits, but it can make it easier to claim them.
Support can include (if you're eligible):
- Blind Person's Allowance (an extra amount of tax-free allowance, so you can earn more before you start paying Income Tax)
- 50% discount on your TV licence (called a blind licence)
- reduced fees on public transport, or a concessionary bus pass
- discounts on leisure activities like cinemas and museums
- technology grants
- evidence of your registration and the fact you're eligible for concessions
- getting help when using services and facilities in the community
Getting registered also lets us know that there is someone in the area with care and support needs, and helps us to plan and deliver services which meet the needs of our local community.
Before you can be added to the sensory registers, we'll need to see evidence of the level of your sight and/or hearing.
Partially-sighted and blind registrations
Once your vision has reached a level which is legally classed as either 'sight impaired' (partially-sighted) or 'severely sight impaired' (blind), you can get a certificate of visual impairment (CVI). The CVI is issued by an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specialises in eyes and vision).
You can only be added to the sensory register once we've seen your CVI.
Deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind registrations
To be registered as deaf or hard of hearing, your hearing must fall in a certain range. To be registered as deafblind, your sight and hearing must fall in a certain range. An audiogram and/or other supporting evidence may be needed as proof, depending on which registration you're applying for.