Day: November 23, 2019

Advocacy: High School Student with CVI

I completed an assessment for a student with CVI and shared the report with her. Please check out the amazing document she created for her teachers in her own words. Amazing! This is what self advocacy looks like! Self advocacy is a key Expanded Core Curriculum area that should be on every IEP.

  • I know myself and my needs best! It’s important to think about how the people I work with can support me, and share those strategies with you so that I can be successful.
  • Please use this information to help me rely on my vision more and more by setting up the environment in a way that’s easier for me.
  • These are suggestions for how to prevent me from getting too tired too quickly, especially during the school day.
  • My vision might be a little different every day, or even change throughout the course of one day because I am tired.
  • Let’s discuss my CVI schedule that would be helpful for me. This includes taking breaks from using my vision before I get tired so that I can use my vision more and more throughout the day.

Background about Me:
Ophthalmological History

  • I have healthy eyes that don’t explain the level of vision I experience.
  • I have some difficulty with seeing both near and far
  • I have some difficulty seeing color, especially if two similar colors are side by side (i.e. light colored piece of paper on light colored table)
  • It might be harder for me to see in the center of my visual field than on the sides

Neurological History

  • I experience seizures & migraines because of the structure of my brain. This can impact how I see on different days.

My CVI Visual Behaviors

These are specific visual behaviors that the CVI assessment told me about. This is based on things that myself and my mother shared, and what the team saw the day I did the testing.

  • My favorite color, blue, helps to draw my attention visually. I can look at things that have 2-3 different colors.
  • When things move, it helps get my visual attention, especially if it’s out in the room and not very close to me. This might look like someone walking past me in the hallway, or outside an open door. This is not something I can control. I process better when things move gently or slowly instead of quickly.
  • Familiar things are easier for me to look at because I don’t have to use my visual energy to figure them out. When I get tired, its harder for me to rely on my eyes as much, and I prefer to rely on my hearing and touch more.
  • My visual field is the whole area in front of me that I have the potential to see. Think of it as a square that moves with me-it has boundaries on both sides, and on the top and bottom. If I want to see past those boundaries, I have to move my head. I sometimes don’t notice things in the bottom part of my visual field. This is why my cane helps me avoid tripping over things or noticing changes on the floor.
  • It’s easier for me to see from my left side, and it can be difficult to use my eyes together to look in the center of my visual field.
  • Depending on what’s going on around me, it can be easier or more difficult for me to rely on my vision. If there’s a lot of activity, people, or stuff around me, it can make it more difficult for my vision to get an accurate picture of what I’m looking at.
  • It’s easier for me to identify things based on real photographs or realistic drawings rather than sketches or symbols of the object.
  • If surfaces, drawers, shelves, etc. are too crowded, it might be difficult to rely on my vision to find what I need. I do better when I’m looking at a smaller area with lots of space between objects.
  • Places like a busy supermarkets or crowded place can make it very difficult for me to use my vision. Noisy places can be challenging for me.
  • It can be difficult to identify a person, even someone I know very well, when I’m in a crowded place. This is partially because of the amount of information my brain is receiving at once.
  • Light helps to draw my visual attention, especially light from a phone or computer, since its coming from “behind” the information on the screen. Sometimes light can be distracting for me.
  • I have an easier time looking at things that are closer to me, about an arm’s length away or so. If something is moving or makes noise, it might be easier to see from farther away.
  • It can be easier to identify and locate things in a familiar place, like my bedroom. I can learn about new objects using my vision and other senses. It might be easier on certain days and in certain environments (quiet v. loud) than others.
  • It’s easier for me to find things and reach for them when there’s less stuff in the background. It helps if there’s lots of space around the object, good lighting, and a plain background. For example, it might be easier for me to pick up a solid color water bottle from an empty table then to find a multicolored necklace in a drawer with other jewelry.
  • When my eyes and brain get tired, I often rely on my other senses (hearing and touch) to get the information I need.
  • Busy, noisy, and new places can make it more difficult for me to use my vision. It might take me longer, or feel like a lot more work.
  • It helps if I face away from busy places like the door, windows, or other lights. This helps keep movement and light out of my visual field so that I’m not distracted and my brain isn’t working too hard to understand what it’s seeing.
  • Sitting slightly turned to the left at the table helps me see out of the strongest part of my visual field.
  • It might be helpful for people to tell me something about their appearance (hair color, glasses, height) or what they’re wearing in order for me to be able to recognize them later on, even from further away. This is something I might have to ask people to do.
  • Asking someone to say my name before they start talking to me might help me pay attention earlier, so I hear everything they say.
  • It helps me when staff are available to help by giving me information about what’s going on around me.
  • Bright, deep colors can help draw my attention and highlight the important parts of an object, or serve as landmarks when I’m moving around.
  • Blocking out movement and noise will help me from being distracted. This might look like sitting facing away from doors and windows, or in a corner with two walls near me.
  • Continuing to work with me in O&M will help me with strategies for safe movement
  • It’s important to take breaks before I feel tired or “overloaded”. I have to give my brain time to process what I’m looking at, especially if it’s something new.
  • Organization, organization, organization! The more consistent and easy to navigate an area is, the more independence I will have.
  • It helps if I use objects with 1-3 colors, use familiar items when I’m learning about something new, use the “real thing” instead of drawings of something so that it’s easier to understand, use backlighting from iPads, laptops, etc. when looking at photos and pictures of things and use a blue line marker can help when I’m reading print.
  • Slow movement can help draw my attention.
  • Taking my time when learning new information, taking breaks, etc. can be helpful, especially in the afternoon when I feel more tired.
  • Using a slant board can bring things into a visual field that’s easier for me to see.
  • Organization, routine, and consistency are my friends when I’m learning!