How Does This Make Sense?

Some children are assessed using the Christine Roman-Lantzy CVI Range and their visual skills are measured as operating in Phase I. Here is what we know about children in Phase I (Christine Roman-Lantzy)

  • The child has great difficulty locating items in the environment and looking long enough to recognize them.
  • The child lacks visual memory for items in their environment due to this limited looking.
  • The child has a favorite color and will only look at simple one colored items. (Color)
  • The child looks at movement or shiny items but does not seem interested in stable objects. (Movement)
  • There is no or little reaction to visual threat or touch between the eyes. (Visual Reflexive Responses)
  • The child fixates briefly but likes light, ceiling fans and movement. (Light gazing and Movement)
  • The child sees things in the peripheral fields but does not react to items in central vision positions. (Visual Fields)
  • There is visual attention in near space only within 2 feet. (Distance and Complexity)
  • The child rarely looks towards faces (Complexity).
  • The child sees best in uncluttered, quiet places. (Complexity)
  • The child only looks at familiar and favorite toys. (Novelty)
  • The child has a long delay before they turn to look. (Latency)

The child enters school and icons, that very symbolically represent materials, are used.  How does this make sense?

  • The child is not looking at 3 dimensional things in their environment. The icons are 2 dimensional and represent these things. How is the child expected to connect the 2D symbol to an 3D item they can’t look at and can’t recognize??


  • This child is very visually impaired yet pictures are used??
  • The child, if they can locate items, can only tolerate looking at one 3 dimensional item at a time, yet they are presented with a HUGE amount of symbols on a communication system.


  • The child can only look at items that move yet symbols are presented as stable items??
  • The child is constantly told to “look” using central vision, yet it is their peripheral vision which is the most functional.
  • The child is presented with 2 dimensional pictures the represent part of an object (which they can’t recognize in 3 dimensions!).


Teachers of students with visual impairments who understand CVI and how to assess CVI using the CVI Range must work hard to help teams understand this disconnect. Without the vital information gained from the CVI Range, the communication device materials and other 2D learning materials are inaccessible. Would we ever do this to a child with an ocular impairment?? I don’t think so!


  1. This is exactly what I told my daughter’s educational team years ago even before she had a cvi diagnosis. Love this. They thought I was crazy and difficult. Love your blog.

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. I encounter this often. In a recent technology assessment there was a nice description of CVI, but the recommendation was for an iPad based system with small icons (PODD system with boardmaker style icons). Questionable whether the child even has the capacity to move her eyes to view separate icons on a multi-icon screen, much less to be able to comprehend their meaning. But I think that it’s assumed that the child will use the app by listening to others read her the choices. Our students who are multiply disabled with CVI present real challenges in the world of communication.


  3. I think so often, the assessment for CVI is not done. This CVI Range is the functional vision assessment for children with CVI. Without understanding the functional vision for a child, how can the team understand what is accessible and what is not? The assessment is the TVI’s job. Explaining functional vision is the TVI’s job. I fear my field is really falling down on their responsibilities to children.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful post indeed. There is very less information on Phase I as compared to II and III. Our 18 months old is diagnosed with phase I and I would like to learn more about this phase.


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