Referral Criteria – Rehabilitation Officers for Visually Impaired Children (ROVIC)

We are the Rehabilitation Officers for Visually Impaired Children (ROVIC). A ROVIC is qualified and proficient in their practice to assess, advise, create and deliver training programmes for babies, children and young people (0-18 years), who have significant visual difficulties impacting on how they reach and develop skills.

About the ROVIC Service

ROVIC provides habilitation (initial acquisition of skills) and rehabilitation (re-establishing skills), as well as support and liaison eye services within the ophthalmic paediatric eye clinics in hospitals across Devon. This includes providing advice, information, assessment, guidance and skills training on approaches and practice to encourage, motivate and support an individual’s development in the presence of visual impairment / deafblindness / multi sensory impairment (MSI) and or coexisting needs.

Alongside habilitation and rehabilitation provision, we provide specialist and holistic assessments for children and young people (0-18 years) who have a combination of sensory impairments causing a multi-sensory impairment, in accordance with deafblind guidance legislation.

The ROVIC service assessment aims to ensure that appropriate services are recommended and provided to children and young people agreed as having a deafblind or other multi sensory impairment, and who are not necessarily able to benefit from mainstream services, or services aimed primarily at blind people or deaf people who are able to rely on their other senses.

Conditions in scope

Requests for service will be accepted for children and young people with sight loss that results in clinical/functional vision impairment that meets one or more, of the following criteria:

  • Certification of sight impairment/severe sight impairment
  • An identifiable ophthalmic condition which has the potential to interfere with the acquisition and development of skills necessary for communication, orientation, mobility, independence and safety
  • A visual acuity of 6/18 or worse
  • A restricted/incomplete visual field
  • A near visual acuity of N14 or worse

or when there is evidence of:

  • Cortical/cerebral visual impairment resulting in visual processing deficits impacting on visual ability to interpret or functionally use vision in development of orientation, mobility, independence and safety skills.
  • Neurological conditions resulting in additional needs such as social, emotional or behaviour difficulties which may be the outcome of an underlying visual condition.

We will undertake assessments in line with deafblind guidance where there is a clinical condition or diagnosis of visual/hearing and/or additional sensory impairment resulting in a dual or multi-sensory impairment.

Exclusion criteria

If any of the above criteria are not met, the ROVIC service is happy to be contacted to offer advice, information and possible signposting to parents, carers, colleagues and partner agencies to help identify alternative resources.

Supporting documentation

Please review the list below and ensure that you have the appropriate documentation available to submit with your request (items in bold are required):

  • Completed Request for Services form (to be completed by requester)
  • Completed Devon ICS Information Sharing Consent Form (to be completed by parent/carer/young person)
  • Certificate of Visual Impairment
  • Medical correspondences from Ophthalmology / Audiology / Paediatric Departments
  • EHC plan / Early Help Assessment / Report recommendations from colleagues specialising in sensory impairment

Guidance and helpful information

To ensure that your request is processed quickly, and the child/ young person is accepted into the service as soon as possible please provide as much detail as you can in the Request for Services form. It is important that the form includes information about:

  • The aspects of difficulty the child/young person is experiencing, and how often this occurs
  • What the impact of the difficulty is on the child at home and at school
  • What has already been tried to help the child/young person, with the supporting evidence as indicated above
  • What goals you have discussed with the child/their parents


Our service operates across the whole of Devon and ROVICs conduct assessments at home and schools across the whole county.

ROVICs additionally support paediatric ophthalmic eye clinics at hospitals across:

  • Exeter
  • Torbay
  • Newton Abbot
  • Barnstaple

We also provide support to eye clinics based at local Special Schools.

Forms that do not have sufficient information in them to allow us to undertake effective clinical screening will be returned to the requester indicating the additional information required.


Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Bittern Road
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW

t: 0330 0245 321