brain plasticity

Perkins School for the Blind CVI Symposium April 7, 2017

Spread the word about this important event! It filled very quickly last year so sign up if you are interested.

CVI Symposium: Best Practices and Current Research presented by experts in CVI

Held at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts

Friday, April 7, 2017 8:30 sign-in, presentations 9:00-4:30 

$100.

6.5 ACVREPs, 6.5 PDPs, 6.5 CEs

There will be discussion about current research and best practice related to brain-based visual impairments.

From the website:

Topics and Presenters include: (with more to be confirmed)

  • Visual Processing and the Impact of Damage: What We Know and How We Know

Lotfi Merabet, O.D., Ph.D., MPH

Presenter TBD

  • Collaborative/Coordinate Care – The Importance of an Effective Team

Anne Fulton, Ophthalmologist

Rebecca Davis, parent

Ellen Mazel, Ed., CTVI

  • Literacy and O&M from Phase I to Phase III

Christine Roman-Lantzy, D.

Matt Tietjen, M.Ed., CTVI

Find out more at:

http://www.perkinselearning.org/earn-credits/onsite-training/cvi-best-practices-current-research

I believe this will also be available to watch after the symposium.

Brain Plasticity

I just attended a meeting where the school psychologist stated “This child’s skills have plateaued”. Such old and erroneous information! Even with the scientific evident to the contrary, some professional continue to propagate this brain science myth. This is a dangerous myth. It sets a mindset that lowers a team’s expectations for a child’s continued learning across all skills.

In schools, there continues to be a misconception that brain plasticity is fixed to ages between 0 and 3 years old. While it seems true that the young brain learns and reassigns best, this does not mean that after age three, we do not have the expectation for improvements for all skills including visual skills. The brain has great plasticity all through life so we must expect improvements or we will most certainly not get them! We must continue to provide each child with the needed supports. Of course, these needs are determined after careful assessment using the correct tools that measures where and how the child is functioning. For a child with CVI, the correct assessment for functional vision is the CVI Range (Christine Roman-Lantzy 2007).

Knowing where and how a child is functioning is the only way to provide first: optimal visual access and second: build visual skills. We move from current functioning, determine the next steps and create goals and objective for improvement. The CVI Range provides us with an assessment tool to measures that improvement.

Here are some resources that I shared with that psychologist, parents and the team:

Psychology Today: Brain Plasticity in Older Adults https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/iage/201304/brain-plasticity-in-older-adults

Dr. Lofti Merabet Looking Inside the Adaptive Brain
https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=16959&bhcp=1

Youtube Lecture: Recovered Sight: Michael May

Understanding Blindness and the Brain (Brian Wandell, Stanford University)

I think you might find this one fascinating! Michael May lost vision as a child and regained it in his 40s. As he regains sight, there are so many CVI characteristics he experiences!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVgfC_FV2hI

From Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience

My head is once again spinning after the March 7th Perkins School for the Blind CVI conference.  Fantastic new research about CVI is being conducted by Dr. Roman-Lantzy and Dr. Lofti Merabet.  How does it related to my work with children? I need to understand as much as I can about the “why” children present with certain behaviors.

“New publication from the lab showing mapping of brain anatomy and visual activity in response to visual field deficits in CVI”.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/…/10.3…/fnsys.2016.00013/full

JOURNAL.FRONTIERSIN.ORG

 

 

 

The Brain: David Eagleman

We should increase out understanding of the brain as we think about children with CVI. The more we know, the more critically we can evaluate theories and interventions. We can understand the medical information we receive in reports. We can begin to understand the latest brain research and it is sure changing quickly!  Even texts and articles about the brain from 5 years ago may contain disproved information.

David Eagleman explores the brain in this new series “The Brain”. This looks like a wonderful series from PBS (Public Broadcasting Station).

http://video.pbs.org/program/brain-david-eagleman/

Here is his website: http://www.pbs.org/the-brain-with-david-eagleman/home/

I just ordered his new book The Brain. I’ll let you know what I find out about the visual system!

Interesting Webinar

I found this lecture so interesting!  It is one hour long but worth the time.

Looking Inside the Adaptive Brain of the Blind

Dr. Merabet speaks at the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC about the team’s work on plasticity, ocular blindness, and CVI. As usual I have more questions!

http://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?Live=16959&bhcp=1

 

Building Success at Any Age

A 13 year old student I have worked with for years continues to build more and more visual skills every day. I’m so proud of her! She works so hard!

Improvements are always expected no matter what age. We now know the plasticity of the brain lasts a lifetime.

When I met her at age 9 months, she was truly a blind child. She located no visual information and stared at light consistently. She scored in Phase I on the Christine Roman CVI Range (Christine Roman-Lantzy 2005). Now she scores well into Phase II-III. I expect more and more improvement with careful assessment, well-matched environmental considerations and consistently used strategies. Key to her success has been parent understanding of CVI and parent use of CVI strategies. There would be no improvements without the adult’s expectation of improvement!