This post is a result of a parent question about the expectation of improvements for their child.
Improvements are possible but depend on the areas of the brain that are damaged. In individual children, we can’t know what level of damage is done and to what areas damage occurred. This is not yet well understood or well imaged medically. Therefore, improvements in visual attention and visual recognition must be an expectation for all children.
I never limit children’s access to learning by making a prediction about what they can or can’t learn. If you meet a person who feels they can see into the future and predict an outcome for a child, get away from them as fast as possible! This is often used as a justification for the discontinuation of service. For many services, deciding to discontinue service is based on what schools or insurance companies are will to pay for, sadly.
After working with kids for 38 years, I have learned that children do all kinds of things that doctors, teachers and therapists say they can never do. I focus on creating learning opportunities at the child’s level with the greatest expectations for improvements. With children with seizures, I try to create predictable and repeatable experiences so they have access to learning when they have moments when they are seizure free and alert.
If you expect improvements from a child, you might get it. If you don’t expect improvements, you are guaranteed to never get it.
There are lots of great ideas on the Perkins School for the Blind CVI NOW website.
The school year will begin with the children arriving on Monday. We have worked hard this summer to get ready for the new school environment to ensure the best environmental and learning supports to meet Kevin’s visual needs.
I am so thrilled to be working with a new teacher who already excited to embrace the student with CVI in her classroom. This child has the added learning profile of a child with deafblindness. Even with CVI, vision is his primary way to assess learning.
We are working together with the team to establish a very predictable routine for this child with consistent materials, locations and events that will build visual skills and concept understanding.
Here is just a sample:
Meet at the van: At curb greet him with our name sign and visual symbol (all symbols are in colors that this child can access) against a black background. Sign “hi” and sign “go”.
Provide touch cues for travel direction changes.
Outside the room, show “classroom” symbol in his left field with movement and wait time:
Textured light up ball on a short string- hand under hand sign school and say “school” (hand comes down on the ball in your hand 2 times)
Hold it up in his left visual field and give it movement (L side)
Then bounce it 3 times (yo-yo motion).
Hold his backpack in his left visual field at eye level, giving slight movement and wait for him to look.
Put back pack on his lap and pat it.
Put the large highlighted zipper-pull in his left hand and using hand under hand support, unzip the bag
Pull out his glasses and hearing aides out of the backpack with hand under hand support.
Display each in his left visual field at eye level with slight movement until he can look. (all items are presented with a black background to reduce complexity). Present touch cue. Glasses: touch both sides of his face where the glasses stems rest. Hearing aids: touch each ear.
Every day will be predictable. Material will become familiar.
Everyday, Kevin will see the same things in the same way at the same time.
From here, we build visual skills, anticipation and concept learning in his new school!
Here a resource, Hold Everything, that you will find helpful to build Active Learning experiences for children. You can build any of these with considerations for the child’s color needs, create motion if needed, backlight or use lighted toys if needed, place in the child’s best visual field, and place at optimal distance for visual and visual motor abilities reduce complexity as needed. Have fun creating these fantastic opportunities!