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Habilitation Service Specialist Guide Dogs

We had a wonderful and inspiring speaker on 7th June – Kate Reed - Senior Habilitation specialist for the Guide Dogs North Eastern Region. Kate has worked with children and young people with visual impairments for the last 15 years and has gathered a wealth of experience in this time.

As an Habilitation specialist Kate works with a range of children and young people aged from 0-25 and provides mobility and orientation training and independent living skills in multiple settings including Nurseries, schools, community and home environments.

As part of her senior role, she also supports other Habilitation staff within Guide Dogs to ensure best practice and continued professional development.

Kate explained that one of the main roles of the Habilitation specialists is to provide assessments and training plans to support children, young people and their parents. She works closely with a range of health, education and social care professionals in order to provide this service.

Many people ask ‘What is Habilitation training’?

briefly Habilitation training has 2 main aims: -

·         Maximising the personal independence of a child/young person with visual needs ready for their life as a young adult.

·         Preparing a young person for moving on to school, college, university, apprenticeships or work, as an independent young adult.

Kate showed a video entitled ‘Margot’s Story’ who Kate has been working with since birth.

This emphasised the importance of early intervention and specialist support.

It was interesting to learn that many people think Guide Dogs just relates to ‘GUIDE DOGS ’ but so much more support is offered to children, young people and their families alongside this traditional thinking.

On a personal note Margot’s mum (my daughter Laura) says ‘Kate’s support has been invaluable to Margot as an individual as well as us as her family. Words will never be able to express how grateful we are to Kate and what a difference she and Guide Dogs has made not only to Margots development but also to our lives as a family’.

This is just the start of Margot’s journey through life.

More information can be accessed at


Tim Duffy


York Rotary News

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