The child in Phase I may act like a child with total blindness. They might not locate or visually attend to much in their environment. This is not due to visual acuity but to the overwhelming complexity of the environment. They just can’t handle the confusing swirl of kaleidoscopic color and movement. Because they behave as if they are ocularly blind, they are treated as ocularly blind. Their vision is never considered, assessed or programmed for. With this lack of visual challenge, they go on to develop auditory and tactile compensatory skills and visual skills lag behind.
One student I assessed in the past at age 11, acted in such a way. She felt for objects rather than looking for them. Once assessed using the CVI Range (Roman-Lantzy 2007), it was clear that presented with materials, given 20+ seconds, on the left visual field at eye level, with bright saturated colors against a non-complex background, this student did, indeed have useable vision. The educational team was present for the assessment and films shared with her parents. From that day forward, visual skills were considered, visual expectations appeared on her IEP, and visual skills improved even in two short weeks. She gained the gift of visual access!
Functional visual assessment using the CVI Range would have identified this sooner. She had only ever had an ocular functional visual assessment even though there was nothing wrong with this student’s eyes. The wrong assessment tool led to the wrong conclusion.
When you act visual impaired and are not assessed using the correct assessment tool, you will never gain visual access..
Thank you, Ellen! Every parent of a child with CVI, especially the newly diagnosed, need to read this and take it to heart!