Many of my students with CVI use their peripheral vision for looking. I struggled to help staff and parents understand exactly what this means as far as visual accessibility of learning materials for the child. I devised an inservice for staff and parents that simulates what kids see when they use peripheral vision. Using this, staff and parents can really live that inaccessibility.
I place people into teams of two. One person on the team is “has” CVI with only peripheral vision use. I ask them to focus on a target in the room and not turn to look at any materials their partner will present.
The other team member shows their partner with CVI three kinds of learning materials in their peripheral field:
- A 3D object
- Pictures from a book
- Communication icons
- Words in large print
I ask the peripheral vision user to tell me what they can see during each presentation. It becomes so clear that using peripheral vision, the child can only see color and vague shape.
This inservice, yet again, gives me an opportunity to talk about the child’s assessed functional vision. I have the opportunity to again stress the possibility of improvement for children with CVI. Working with accessible learning materials with environmental adaptations matched to the child’s CVI assessment, will build visual skills towards that ventral stream use that we all want for the child but for now, these kinds of learning materials are inaccessible.
The inservice provides the experience of inaccessibility.