Complexity and access to distracting light and movement can completely overwhelm the student with CVI in the classroom. I have seen teachers work very hard to reduce the complexity of their classrooms. It can be a challenge but well worth every effort for our students with visual impairments due to CVI. Controlling complexity and light effectively creates accessibility to learning.
Take a look at this classroom: (Pinterest)
This teacher has covered the shelves that are probably filled with toys and books. The shades are pulled down to control distracting light sources. The floor cover is a nice non-complex background for looking at materials placed on the rug. A nice start!
BUT: look at the shelves in on the left side of the room. The black cover controls the complexity on the shelves but the complexity remains with the many colorful and complex materials stored on top. If those toys were removed, that left side of the room would be a much less complex background against which to learn. That is, of course, if that is the way the student in facing in the room!
If the student is facing the right side of the room or learning in the middle of the room, that would be completely overwhelming and complex. If the student is facing this way and this is the background, the student would really struggle against this complexity of array. This side of the room is completely inaccessible for learning for the student with CVI.
Here is a challenge for everyone as you return to school from the holiday break. Pick a student in your class who has CVI. Think about every position you place that student throughout the day. Actually sit there. Is the background where the student is facing free of complexity? If not, rethink your adaptations so the whole room is adapted. Would there be a better place to face? Would learning against a wall rather than in the middle of the classroom be best? Accessible learning is from the student’s point of view not from ours.
This gives me a lot to think about. Can you put up a photo of what a well-adapted space might look like?
Hi there, I just want to clarify this picture because it is a picture from my blog. This picture is actually talking about doing a play space makeover. The “black” side is the “after” of the play space makeover. The cluttered side was the “before”. The original blogpost is: http://adifferentkindofvision.blogspot.com/2011/05/playspace-makeover.html. I do mention the importance of visual clutter and complexity. This is a home of a parent of a toddler with CVI and how they were working to change their environment so it was more accessible for their child. The toys on top of the bookshelf were favorite toys and their child could handle the level of complexity on the “black” side.