What we do to help

The assessments we do and the exercises and therapy we recommend are designed to improve the visual and auditory processing systems that a conventional eye examination or hearing test would not help with.

Motion detection, rapid fixation, tracking, visual and spatial perception, are known as ‘top down’ systems. We also work on the balance and coordination processing, known as a ‘bottom up’ system.

These systems work together and are linked in the brain by the cerebellum and by working on both systems simultaneously; we have more success in supporting you and your child in improving the problems they may have.

Find out more about our assessments

Our Team

Dr Annette Grounds

Behavioural Optometrist

Dr Annette Grounds has spent 25 years developing the Vision Training Clinic at CPOC, which used a multi-sensory approach to help children with a variety of learning difficulties.

Annette said: “I have seen so many children change dramatically over the years; children with low self-esteem and low self-worth becoming confident young people who have turned their lives around. It is hard to express the amazing feeling when a child returns showing increased confidence and enjoying school, getting better grades and understanding. Accepting that they are not stupid but that they may need a little support or to do things in a slightly different way.

“Over the past 25 years I have enjoyed building up the support we can offer the amazing children we see. By continuing this work at the Multi-Sensory Training Centre we can help more children progress, become confident and be successful so that they can achieve their full potential.”

Find out more about Visual Processing

Hayley Green

Primitive Reflex Specialist

Hayley has worked alongside Dr Grounds as a Primitive Reflex Specialist since 2014. She has previously worked as an Optometry technician and a laboratory assistant since completing her degree in Biological Science. Hayley is trained in Rhythmic Movement, Reflex Integration and paediatric basic life support. As well as safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and child protection. She is passionate about the work she does and  firmly believes that every child can be helped.

Find out more about Reflex Therapy

Kat Garnham

Therapy Support

Kat has an extensive background in childcare and also holds qualifications in child protection amongst others. Kat has worked with Dr Grounds and her team since 2013, it seemed a natural progression for her to help with the work the Vision Training Clinic did as it was mainly concerned with children and their development.  Kat helps with supporting the training and therapies we give. Sometimes it can be a lot to take in on one go so occasionally a ‘refresher’ or a review of how the exercises are going can be helpful. She also provides administrative support.

Patrick & Menzies

Independent Optometrists and Opticians

Patrick & Menzies Opticians started trading in 1988 when Andrew Patrick and Gill Menzies, a dispensing optician and optometrist respectively, joined forces to provide eyecare as an independent opticians in Braintree. Their success as a team allowed Patrick & Menzies to grow, with practices in Brightlingsea and West Mersea, and now the Multi-Sensory Training Centre.

Their commitment to thinking as individuals rather than a multiple group has established their business foundations, the loyalty of their exceptional staff demonstrates their family and team ethos. Dispensing Optician, Dan Edwards joined Patrick & Menzies in 1998, becoming a partner in 2014 and when Dr Grounds approached the partners, they felt they couldn’t see the valuable work she and her team had done disappear; so started the process of building the new practice, open to all, without the need for referral.

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Questions and Answers

with our specialists

Why did I want to continue the service?
The Vision Training Clinic as it was previously known, was valuable and unique as it provided a complete service due to its multi sensory approach. Some children can go to multiple healthcare professionals for years searching for help to suit their needs and they don’t ever find what they’re looking for as their needs don’t fit one specific criteria. We accept all referrals as we believe all children with SEN can be helped like age or a diagnosis of ASD. We feel we have a responsibility to help every child and parent we possibly can so not continuing the service was never an option.

How does it make you feel?
Very proud, a huge sense of satisfaction and elation for the child

What parents get?
An understanding of why their child finds certain things difficult. Relief that there are so many things they can do to help.

Any advice for parents?
Slow and steady, learning takes time and any improvement, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

Any advice for schools?
Be aware of how to recognise that a child may be struggling, children are very good at hiding from and avoiding the things they find difficult.


Appointments and Fees


The appointments we offer differ greatly as every child is different. Sometimes their needs are complex and multi-layered, sometimes their needs are much simpler.

This means the type of appointment they require will vary. That’s why we offer a wide range of assessments tailor-making a program specifically to suit the child. After the first assessment the appointments are typically 3 months apart depending on your child’s needs. In the first instance, it’s best to contact the centre to discuss your child’s particular needs. Then complete one of our pre-assessment questionnaires. Ready for your child’s first assessment.

Our appointment fees range from £50 to £300.
We also have flexible payment schemes set up to help. 

You can contact the centre on 01206 911974 or
email enquiries@mstcentre.co.uk

We will be very happy to talk and provide as much help as possible.

Please note some appointments will require an up to date eye examination, (within 6 months). The MSTC works together with Patrick and Menzies Opticians who can book a child’s NHS appointment at any of their branches, located at Braintree, Brightlingsea or Mersea.

You don’t have to use us, but we’re pretty good!

At P&M we pride ourselves on our personal service. Due to our independent status, we can choose our own suppliers to achieve your needs, whether it’s designer frames, sturdiness for children, or the most affordable because we all have a budget, we get that!

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