About the Author


Ellen Cadigan Mazel, M.Ed. CTVI, Deafblind Specialist

Ellen works at the Perkins School for the Blind CVI Center as the Director of Development and Research. She joined the administrative leadership team at Perkins School for the Blind to create and oversee Perkins CVI assessment and programming in 2017. The position includes medical, educational, research and practitioner partnerships with Dr. Lotfi Merabet, Dr. Corinna Bauer, Dr. Barry Kran, Dr. Nicole Ross and vision professionals at MIT, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School to advance knowledge about CVI. Though these partnerships, she continues to learn and expand her own understanding of CVI. At Perkins, Ellen directs assessments of students with CVI, directs program planning across the day to improve service and learning environments for children with CVI on and off campus. She has also created an on-campus mentoring system to increase knowledge and skills around CVI. She is involved in creating online learning resources for the larger community of parents and professionals serving students with CVI.

Ellen teaches Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment: Assessment and Education in the Vision Studies graduate program at the University of Massachusetts Boston training teachers of students with visual impairments about the unique assessment and service to children with CVI. She co-created the five course University of Massachusetts, Boston CVI Certification Program. This program expands knowledge of the Visual Brain, CVI Overview, CVI Assessment. Promising Practices of Children with CVI, and Collaboration Considerations for Students with CVI.

Ellen previously worked for Concord Area Special Education Collaborative (CASE Collaborative) in Concord, Massachusetts as a teacher of students with visual impairments, deafblindness and cortical/cerebral visual impairment.  She worked with the Minuteman Early Intervention Program in Concord supporting infants and toddlers with visual impairments and their families. Ellen worked for 10 years in Educational Partnerships at Perkins School for the Blind with infants and toddlers as well as school age children. In 2008, Ellen was named National Teacher of the Year for Children with Multiple Disabilities by the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB). She worked for 9 years in Melrose, Massachusetts as an integrated preschool teacher.  She began her career as a teacher of teenage students with deafblindness supporting functional academics for independent living and working.  Ellen has expertise in the area of visual impairment, deafblindness, early intervention, multiple disabilities, cortical/cerebral vision impairment, and transition.  After learning about CVI, she became interested in the most recent brain science information, how children with visual impairments build compensatory skills and how children’s experiences relate to children’s growth and development.

She hopes blogging will generate more referrals for children so they can improve visual skills.  A majority of all learning is visual!


  1. I found it! By mistake! This will be so fun to check into.
    I used to put bells on my daughters sneakers when she was little to show her her feet. She also did well with heavy doc martin boots.


  2. Hi Ellen, This site is great. I love seeing the before and after photos. I would also love your thoughts on the objects placed in the Little Room. How often would you change the objects?Would you move the same objects to different areas of the LIttle Room? And do you have a good way to document how a child interacts with the toys, which toys are more often explored, etc? Thanks for creating this blog. I’m bookmarking it right away and checking back often.
    Miryam, TVI, Western MA


    1. I posted your question yesterday and will get to the second part of the question this weekend. (daughter graduating with a Masters degree in OT)
      Are you working for Perkins? Best to all the family!


  3. Hi Ellen,
    This is a great resource. I found it as I was looking for resources to add to my Blog for one of my AT Classes. Thank you.


      1. Ellen I have a question. I have a three year old student who is diagnosed with Rod Cones Dystrophy . I have recently started working with him, very low functioning in terms of communication, visual attention/joint attention, sensory seeking, overall motor skills . It appears he responds to CVI strategies. Wondering if it is possible can a student have Rod cones dystrophy as well as CVI? As I always have understood that CVI students have healthy Eye structure. Any input would be helpful… Theresa
        MSEd, CAS/SDA, TVI

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello Theresa. That is interesting. It sounds like he has other issues besides the Rod Cones Dystrophy. Kids can have ocular and cortical issues. Is there any brain based diagnosis? Seizures? Strange MRI results? The fact that he is of lower abilities overall seems like a red flag that something is atypical in the brain in some way. You need to place strategies in pace to deal with both ocular and cortical. For ocular: high contrast , larger size, lighting will be an issue to deal with as well. Assess the cortical as best you can given the ocular understanding and put strategies in place for those. It can be complex.


  4. I feel that is among the most important information for me.
    And i am happy studying your article. However wanna observation on some common issues,
    The web site taste is wonderful, the articles is in point of fact
    nice : D. Excellent task, cheers


  5. I discovered this page and am quite excited!… I wanted someone’s perspective on cvi and cerebral palsy. Would it be wrong to assume that all students with CP have some form of CVI? even if they are in stage III…


    1. Hi Sophie,
      My understanding is that the motor pathways and visual pathways run right next to each other in the brain. If I meet a child with CP, it is a red flag for me to conduct an assessment using the CVI Range by Christine Roman Lantzy. Children can be at any Phase, I, II or III.
      Not all children are effected but it is worth looking further so nothing is ever missed for a little one.


      1. So when we hear or say that children with cp might have perceptual difficulties are they maybe just missing the cvi or could there be another reason And thus should I approach it like a cvi case? I appreciate the specificity of your answers that is what I was desperately looking for and no one was really able to give this to me… .

        Sophie Chabin



  6. Hi Ellen,
    I found your blog wonderful and thanks for sharing your expertise. It would be great to chat with you since we are looking to create assistive devices in order to improve the life style and empower with mobility.
    Would you like to know more about us? We are looking to bloggers like you to create a community between family, visually impaired, Trainers, etc.
    Best! and congratulations for your blog.


  7. Hi Ellen – would love to see more posts on strategies you use with children who are in Phase III of the CVI Range, thanks.


  8. Hi Ellen,

    Can you clarify: Are all three parts needed for an assessment using The Range or can an assessment be conducted if the examiner is limited to a parent interview and a direct assessment.


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