Misconception about CVI

When you look over all the theories, there are so many similarities in theorist’s ideas about CVI. The most misunderstanding seems to be around children’s consistency of visual use. Many theorists say that “vision skills change minute to minute and hour to hour”. This is a dangerous assumption. It blames the child rather than encouraging staff to evaluate the visual and auditory environment closely. The child’s positioning is not considered. It is my experience that stopping and evaluating the environment, identifying sensory complexity, and reducing it will improve a child’s abilities to use their vision.

As a great example, I have a wonderful set of films of one of my students, Ashley. Ashley is seated in the center of a busy preschool at the snack table with three other students (visual and auditory complexity Roman-Lantzy). There is a tremendous amount of movement with staff people busily moving through the environment. She is trying to learn to grasp and drink from her cup. Ashley struggles to even look at her favorite cup on the tan table. She reaches with a sweeping grasp, misses, reaches again and finally, in frustration, throws her head back and cries. Is her vision poorer during this snack?? No. The environment is overwhelming her visual skills. I took Ashley to a quieter part of the classroom, facing a plain background with a non-complex tray. Ashley reaches to her cup while looking and accurately gets her cup. Success!
Make environmental assessment the first thing you think of when your child is not using visual skills. It will make a huge difference!

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