In the last blog post, I talked about a strategy using a lightbox to support looking and reaching to access finger food for my student Julie. She was reaching without looking to eat and she was satisfied with that! Her self feeding is certainly functional but not helpful as we more to the future goal of utensil use. The higher level skill of utensil use requires looking to the food using central vision using a fork or spoon.
At first introduction using the lightbox backlighting and the clear plate with popcorn as the visual target, Julie had immediate access. Her improved skills for looking and reaching with this environmental support of backlighting was fantastic. My goal is always to provide access for current skills after assessment using the CVI Range (Christine Roman-Lantzy).
This can never the last step.
I am always thinking about improvements in Julie’s skills using less environmental support. As Julie improves her visual motor skills while finger feeding, I will use the brightness adjustment feature of the lightbox to reduce the backlighting gradually until the lightbox itself is no longer necessary for finger feeding.
We are not there yet, but I would expect when we introduce spoon or fork use, we might need to put the backlighting support back into place as Julie learns a more difficult skill, while she tolerates hand under hand tactile support (complexity) and moves to greater independence.