The Perkins 5th Annual Symposium this July 11th and 12th, 2019 was a huge success! The first day there were three panels. The second day, workgroups formed to discuss the needs in each topic.
The first panel, Medical and Research, laid out the current state of medical understanding and research about CVI. The panelists lead by Lotfi Merabet, OD, Ph.D., were Sharon Lehman, MD, Barry Kran, OD, FAAO, Terry Schwartz, MD and Corrina Bauer, Ph.D.
The second, Assessment and Promising Practices which I led, featured Matt Tietjen, M.Ed, Sandra Lewis, Ed.D, Tammy Reisman, CAES, Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D.
The third, Family Education and Advocacy, lead by Tracy Evans-Luiselli, Ed.D., featured Rachel Bennett M.Ed., Bobby Silverstein, Esq., Barbara Raimondo, Esq. and Monika Jones, Esq..
Repeated themes shared overwhelmingly throughout the panels:
- Kids can’t wait. They are in our homes, offices, and schools now in overwhelming numbers. Those numbers will continue to grow in the United States and across the globe.
- Parents and students are critical partners.
- Researchers, medical professional, educators and parents need more information about CVI.
- CVI is complex and needs a team approach for diagnosis, assessment and planned intervention.
- Individuals with CVI are unique and deserve unique considerations in assessment and interventions.
- We need more assessment tools and more researched interventions that work for learners with CVI.
- The infighting about the name: cortical, cerebral or neurological visual impairment is a roadblock to understanding, identification, assessment and service to individuals with CVI. Fighting about the name will impede progress in all areas especially in advocacy at the government level.
- Together with consensus, we can move this forward. If we are fractured, we will stall efforts for research, assessment, advocacy and service to students.
The overall issues were identified and workgroups formed to tease out details in the four areas of Medical/Research, Assessment and Interventions, Advocacy and the Higher Education training of vision professionals to serve students with CVI.
With Perkins support and commitment, the work will continue from the identified collective wisdom of the workgroups.