Vision Rehabilitation and Habilitation - the Profession
There are around five hundred Vision Rehabilitation Workers (sometimes called Rehabilitation Officers Visual Impairment, or ROVIs) and around 120 Habilitation Specialists working in the United Kingdom.
Rehabilitation and Habilitation
Vision Rehabilitation and Habilitation are two separate disciplines under the one profession; both teach a similar range of independence skills but the way they are delivered, and the context they are delivered in, are different and require very different approaches. Vision Rehabilitation Workers work predominantly with people over 18 and Habilitation Specialists work with children and young people (0-25). Professionals from both disciplines are employed in a number of different settings. These include adult social services, pre-school schools and colleges, children’s social services, the NHS and national and regional voluntary organisations. A few practitioners work in a freelance capacity or via specialist agency providers.
Qualification to become a registered professional
To become a registered Vision Rehabilitation Worker or Habilitation Specialist, a registrant must be able to provide proof that they have qualified with a defined and specified qualification. All routes are at minimum UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA level 5) for rehabilitation and level 6 for habilitation. Courses at level 5 are of approximately 24 month's duration. Courses at level 6 are at either 12 months or 24 months depending on the way the course is delivered.
RWPN recognises the following qualifications as entitlement to practise as a Vision Rehabilitation Worker or Habilitation Specialist: Honours Degree in Rehabilitation Studies (visual impairment); Foundation Degree in Rehabilitation Studies; apprenticeship standard ST0431 Rehabilitation Worker (Visual Impairment); Diploma in Higher Education in Rehabilitation Studies; BTEC Professional Diploma in Rehabilitation Studies (Visual Impairment) Level 5; Graduate Diploma in Habilitation and Disabilities of Sight (children and young people); Graduate Diploma in Low Vision Rehabilitation; Original Certificate in Rehabilitation Work; Combined Mobility Officer and Technical Officer Certificate.
Professional Standards - general
Qualification courses base the content of their courses on the 2008 Sensory Services National Occupational Standards. All registrants must adhere to RWPN Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and undertake mandatory CPD.
Professional Standards - rehabilitation
The knowledge, skills and behaviours specified in the government's Apprenticeship Standard underpin qualification to become a Vision Rehabilitation Worker.
Professional Standards - habilitation
The Quality Standards: Delivery of Habilitation Training (Mobility and Independent Living Skills) for Children and Young People with Visual Impairment underpin the qualification to become a Habilitation Specialist.
RWPN Practice Guidance for Qualified Professionals
Guidance: The Role of Sensory Assistant/Assistant Rehabilitation Officer This guidance is to help managers and their teams reach sound and safe conclusions about how services can be delivered using this supporting role, alongside qualified professionals.
Mobility Scooters The use of mobility scooters by sight-impaired people can create professional dilemmas for the workforce and it is not a clear-cut issue. We are grateful to Sight Scotland Veterans for permission to share this information leaflet that they have prepared and which sets out some considerations for the client. Considering getting a mobility scooter (1).docx