So often professionals jump to using photographs when the child with CVI is not looking at pictures at all (2D is much harder than 3D) or is looking but does not understand what is represented in the picture.
At the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative (CASE), we have had great success with carefully moving our children with CVI to using pictures for communication.
Our approach is mindful of the child’s need for visual memory of the real item before any pictures can be used. We start by assigning symbols to fun activities that the child already likes.
This is a progression of symbols from 3D to 2D for an activity playing with a fan:
Real fan —>embedded fan—>picture of the exact fan
- The child shows consistent understanding that the fan represents the fun game of turn taking and blowing materials around. (we have created visual memory for a symbol that is enjoyed and familiar).
- Once understood we glue the fan to card stock that is 5″X7″. (We build on that familiarity but move to a visual presentation that is almost like the photograph.
- We then move to the high quality photograph that is also 5″X7″.
- Once that is understood we continue our assessment to understand what size photograph the child needs and how many photographs can be presented at once. (this array toleration is considered in the Roman Range as one kind of Complexity.)
This is one example for one child that was created after a careful assessment using the Christine Roman Range. Collaboration is essential between all the professionals and parents to create and use this communication progression well.