SeeAbility project offers learning disability and autism awareness training
SeeAbility is seeking 500 optometry professionals, clinical and non-clinical, to complete Oliver McGowan training on learning disability and autism, which is mandatory for CQC health care professionals
14 November 2023
As optical professionals are regulated by the General Optical Council and not the CQC, the profession was not impacted by this change. However, the charity SeeAbility is now working with City, University of London on a project funded by The Thomas Pocklington Trust exploring whether those working in optometry, clinical and non-clinical, could benefit from this training. It is seeking at least 500 people to take part in the training.
OT speaks to SeeAbility’s head of eye care and vision, Lisa Donaldson, about the project.
Why was the Oliver McGowan training on learning disability and autism developed and what does it involve?The Oliver McGowan mandatory training on learning disability and autism is named after Oliver McGowan, whose tragic death shone a light on the need for health and social care staff to have better training. It is the standardised training that was developed for this purpose and is the Government's preferred and recommended training for health and social care staff.
With support from Thomas Pocklington Trust, SeeAbility’s employed lived experience eye care champions are offering free Tier 1 Oliver McGowan mandatory training to everyone in the eye care sector
As the optical sector is not CQC registered, this is not currently mandatory. Why does SeeAbility think this training could be valuable for the profession?Adults with a learning disability and those with autism are 10 times more likely to have a significant problem with their eyes, and yet evidence shows they are less likely than the neurotypical population to get the eye care they need.
This is compounded by the fact that they may not be able to communicate symptoms of poor vision. It is therefore vital that they receive routine annual eye care and that as providers of eye care we are all aware of these high risks and how to support people to access care.
SeeAbility is working on a project to explore the need and benefit for this training in the optical sector. Can you share what this project involves and how it is being funded?With support from Thomas Pocklington Trust, SeeAbility’s employed lived experience eye care champions are offering free Tier 1 Oliver McGowan mandatory training to everyone in the eye care sector. It is accredited for one CPD point for registered professionals, but we are also keen to get practice staff involved to make sure people are able to successfully book and prepare for appointments. We are working with City, University of London to evaluate the impact of the training.
What is involved in the training?There is two hours of online training that practitioners can complete in their own time and then a live interactive one-hour webinar, presented by the SeeAbility team, which includes a person with lived experience of autism, a person with lived experience of learning disability, and a facilitator. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.
Everyone deserves an equal right to sight. Everyone can and should be able to access eye care and the glasses they need, but we know this isn’t always happening in England
What role can optometrists and their practice teams play in the project?People are encouraged to sign up to attend a webinar and, if they are able to, take part in our focus groups. We are offering multiple sessions, some in the evening and some at lunchtime or first thing in the morning, each with a maximum of 25 attendees. Practitioners can find a session that suits them and book on via Eventbrite.
These are part of the evaluation of the training we are carrying out with City, University of London. We are hoping to train at least 500 people who are patient facing, and we are especially keen to reach optical assistants and professional staff.
How will you be evaluating training outcomes?We will be asking a few feedback questions at the end of sessions and, in addition, we are looking for some volunteers to give up 60–90 minutes to take part in a focus group to further evaluate the training with support from City, University of London.
What would you say to encourage optometrists and their practice teams to take part in the training?Everyone deserves an equal right to sight. Everyone can and should be able to access eye care and the glasses they need, but we know this isn’t always happening in England. We have met people who have missed out, leading to uncorrected high myopia, incorrect dementia diagnosis due to undiagnosed cataracts, and total sight loss due to undiagnosed glaucoma, as well as people who can no longer see their phone or the puzzles they used to love due to undiagnosed presbyopia.
Sign up for this training to support SeeAbility’s project
To sign up to Oliver McGowan mandatory training on learning disability and autism training, comprising two hours of online training in your own time followed by a one-hour webinar, visit Eventbrite. SeeAbility is seeking at least 500 people to take part, including non-clinical members of the whole practice team.