When I write a report for a child regarding functional vision or for transition to a new program, I always start by recommending the services of a teacher of students with visual impairments but with cautions:
“A certified teacher of students with visual impairments (CTVI) must be an integral member of Susan’s educational team providing continued visual assessment around the brain based visual issues that impact Susan. All accommodations, modifications and educational programming should address those brain based visual issues to build access for visual attention and visual recognition. It is essential that this TVI understand cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI), the assessment protocols for CVI and how to create environments and strategies to build visual skills. This assessment should focus on determining Susan’s optimal visual learning environment around near learning and increasing visual access to distance information, visual complexity, auditory complexity, understanding of 2 dimensional materials (photographs, pictures and 2D symbols), visual motor abilities, using compensatory skills and using all visual fields. This service should include consultation with specialists and parents and providing in-service training as needed regarding assessment results.
Children with typical vision have access to all the information in their environment. They can see and anticipate what will happen. They see Dad getting his coat on and understand he is going out. They see the teacher organizing art supplies and understand that art will happen soon.
Depending on the severity of a child’s, they might a more limited visual understanding or limited distance understanding. Life seems random as things change throughout their day.
Calendar systems create access by linking symbols to events. It builds both symbol understanding and anticipation of what will happen next. It creates temporal understanding: first, now, next, all done (past), it fosters sequencing (first, next, after).
The setup and visual access of the calendar system must match the child’s CVI assessment.
Here is one example:
The CVI Range assessment for this child indicated that the child is able to look at 7 items at the same time (complexity of array). The CVI Range indicated that child can not understand 2D pictures or images so the teacher choose 3D embedded symbols (complexity characteristic). The CVI Range indicated the child could look at all colors so many colors are used (color characteristic). The child can look at these symbols without movement so the symbols can be presented in a stable fashion (movement characteristic). The calendar system’s consistent use all day every day will build familiarity (novelty characteristic). Light can be controlled (lightgazing). The calendar system can be presented in the child’s best visual field (visual field characteristic). The calendar system can be presented as long as needed for the child to look (latency characteristic) and reach (visual motor characteristic). The calendar system can be presented at the optimal distance determined by the assessment (distance characteristic)
More ideas for calendar systems at Adaptive Design at adaptivedesign.org
The teacher chose items to represent each activity. Each symbols is within the child’s tactile, visual and auditory experience:
- Ball for gym
- Paintbrush for art
- Spoon for lunch
- Book for reading
- Bells for music