Return to full version
NVDA Screen Reader  |  Text size: Regular, Medium, Large  |  Contrast: Off, Black, Yellow, White

Lived Experience Sensory Awareness Training

Click here for Sensory Training Booking form

Training information and description                    

We offer the invaluable opportunity to learn directly from those living with sensory impairments. We teach awareness of hearing impairments, visual impairments and dual sensory loss (deafblindness). You can find out more in the ‘our trainers’ section. Our trainers are Terri Sawkins,  Carly Waters and Annette Bodsworth MBE.

Click images to enlarge

Customer Testimonials

“I have to say that normally when I attend any training, I am getting fidgety after an hour and a half, but this was something utterly different. I have been on the Council since 1985 and I can quite honestly say that this was undoubtedly the best training session I have ever attended.” Cllr. Jill Reeves, Member Hadleigh Division (Castle Point).

Our training will be of interest to all staff from service commissioners and managers through to care workers from any setting such as Health and Social Care, voluntary organisations, residential care, housing and transport providers.  Statistics indicate that 1 in 30 people in the UK have a sight impairment and 1 in 6 have a hearing impairment. In a society which promotes and embraces equality, diversity and inclusivity, this training will enhance the communication skills, understanding and confidence of staff and improve their interaction with the wider community.”

We can offer bespoke training sessions of 1 or 2 hours, half day and full day to meet your needs or you can book onto one of our Open courses available throughout the year.

For details and bookings please telephone 01245 256380 or email

Training is available either in your workplace (advanced site visit required for accessibility purposes) or at our training rooms in Chelmsford or Colchester in Essex. Our venues are accessible, comfortable and teas and coffees are included.

At the end of our awareness training programme learners will have gained understanding and skills on many levels including:

  • The causes and effects of sensory loss.
  • Communication methods and equipment.
  • Barriers to independence.
  • Rehabilitation and mobility.
  • Specialist daily living equipment.
  • Independence, well-being and social inclusion.
  • Emotional and psychological considerations.
  • Statistics, legislation and best practice guidance.

Our trainers encourage participants to explore any preconceptions they may have, ask the awkward questions and ultimately break down barriers and instil confidence which will enable them to be able to communicate with and support sensory impaired people in all walks of life.

  • Can all deaf/Deaf people lip-read?
  • Do blind people just see black?
  • Do Deafblind people see and hear nothing?
These are just a few of the questions we can answer on our courses delivered informally with that ‘personal’ touch.   Our trainers will give a description of growing up with a sensory impairment and the challenges faced (delivered with a liberal sprinkling of humour!)

Our experiential training is underpinned by the principles of dignity, respect and person centred approaches and participants will receive a full hand out pack of information and useful links and a certificate of attendance upon completion of the course.

Who is this training for?

Our training will be invaluable to any public facing service provider whether in health, social care or business. 

Learners might include:-

  • County Councillors, service commissioners, managers and front line workers from provider organisations working within Health and Social Care.
  • Organisations bidding for health or social care contracts who wish to enhance their offer and demonstrate added value.
  • Organisations wishing to recruit and retain staff and invest in their development.
  • Voluntary organisations working with older people.
  • Residential and nursing care and housing providers.
  • Emergency service providers such as Fire, Police, Ambulance and key hospital staff.
  • Businesses wishing to improve customer satisfaction and access the ‘purple pound’ such as supermarkets, banks and high street retailers.

Our trainers

Terri - I have been blind for many years and during this time have raised two children single handed, climbed Ben Nevis,  achieved my black belt in Kuk Sool Won Martial Art, my Diploma in Humanistic Person Centred Counselling and am also PTTLS qualified . These I did out of the sheer love of living.

My passion now is Sensory Awareness Training and my lived experience is a doorway for others to gain insight and knowledge. I want to support the growing number of people with sensory impairments to get equality of services by delivering high quality training to those working with and for the community.

Annette MBE - I was born hearing impaired and started to lose my sight in my early teens. I was a ballet dancer and won a place at the senior Royal Ballet School. I’ve raised three children, abseiled off County Hall in Chelmsford for charity and my life has been full and varied with many challenges.  I do like challenges!  For many years I have been involved in helping to develop services for deafblind people, from local support groups to strategic planning and commissioning.  Improving services through raising awareness has always been my top priority.

Carly - I was born deaf, and wear a hearing aid in my right ear. I’m profoundly deaf in my left ear.  I have played football for 22 years; competed with the Great Britain Deaf Women’s Football team and the England Deaf Women’s football team. I have been working for the Sensory Service in Essex for nearly 15 years and my role is Technical Officer for Deaf and Deafblind people.  I assess people’s sensory needs and provide suitable equipment to enable them to maintain their independence in their own homes. I have certificates in British Sign Language Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Deaf & Deafblind Awareness. I also have an advanced diploma level 3 in Technical and Rehabilitation Work with Deaf People.

All of our trainers are dignity champions who are committed to improving the quality of care and the experience of sensory impaired individuals using services.  Our training embraces and includes the Ten Point Dignity Challenge which promotes respect, independence and dignity in all settings.

Customer Testimonials

“I have to say that normally when I attend any training, I am getting fidgety after an hour and a half, but this was something utterly different. I have been on the Council since 1985 and I can quite honestly say that this was undoubtedly the best training session I have ever attended.” Cllr. Jill Reeves, Member Hadleigh Division (Castle Point).

“This was a brilliant course, very well delivered.  I have learnt so much today.”

“The team do a fantastic job of making the training friendly and informal whilst being professional and informative.  The personal experiences make it real and better for learning.“

“I can honestly say that without this training we would have some difficulties in delivering the level and quality of service that we aspire to.”

“Fascinating course, I want to learn more”

“All Trainers were very friendly and made the training very enjoyable, I shall pass back to my Manager and make clear how much I learned and will highly recommend staff attend”.

“Fantastic course, extremely interesting awareness and guidance in both my personal and professional roles.  Fantastic delivery which will encourage learning”.

“I was fortunate enough, earlier this year, to be invited to participate in a training session with the Sensory Awareness team at ECL. I say participate as that was very much what the session was about. There were many opportunities to explore a variety of issues relating to sensory impairment and how they impact on the individuals concerned. In particular it was extremely valuable to be carried through this process by individuals who all have direct experience of the issues concerned and how they have addressed the issues on a personal level. Of extreme value was the fact that it was acknowledged that we don’t always get it right – but that shouldn't stop us from trying!”

 “In my work environment we work with a number of individuals with sensory impairments, including varying degrees of sight loss, hearing loss and in some case both. The training highlighted many of the issues that we have experienced and has provided us with the skills to start to explore the solutions."

“A brilliant course that should be mandatory for all ECL staff.  Trainers were very approachable and gave clear explanations and answered all queries thoroughly.”

Sensory Training Booking form

For details and bookings please telephone 01245 256380 or email