When a new approach to teaching learners with CVI is suggested, we need to ask ourselves:
- Does this match our understanding of the unique learner’s visual behaviors?
- Is there scientific research to support the use of this strategy?
- If there is no scientific research, is it a “promising practice” that we can carefully try and carefully apply to each unique student’s situation?
- How do we decide to use this “promising practice”?
- How do we use it as it was meant to be used?
- How do we evaluate its effectiveness since not all inventions will be useful for all learners? (I hope the words collect data popped into your mind here!)
Recently I visited a school to consult for a student who was barely using any central vision to access literacy. The TVI had learned about word bubbling in a conference. Word bubbling is a promising practice suggested by Christine Roman in her book Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles.
This TVI took the app for word bubbling and suggested that all the child’s literacy materials were bubbled.
- This does not match the student’s visual skills. Central vision use would be essential for this intervention.
- This is not the suggested practice from the text: Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles.
- This was randomly applied with no diagnostic evaluation of the tool as applied to the student.
- The TVI never partnered with the reading specialist who would be the expert about the teaching of reading. That collaboration would be essential.
- There was no data on the effectiveness of this strategy for this unique learner.
Here is just one example of a sentence this poor student is now struggling visually recognize:
- Understand your student’s visual behaviors.
- Try promising practices with careful consideration of those visual behaviors.
- Use the strategy as it was meant to be used.
- Collect data on the effectiveness of your trial. (Baseline data then progress data)
- Random application of any strategy is as inaccessible as doing nothing..