CVI with ocular conditions

Literacy: Searching for a Visual Attribute

My 3 year old student who is non-verbal had no interest in any literacy materials when she arrived in preschool due to ocular and cortical/cerebral visual impairments.  Her preschool provided rich experience based literacy using adapted books matched to her ocular visual needs and matched to her CVI assessment. Each book had an accompanying storybox with 3D materials to support each non-complex picture.

I wanted to check visual recognition of one 2D image.  I choose the book Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! I’m Off to the Moon by Dan Yaccarino. It had a series of images of round pictures.  As a consistent visual feature, I used a shiny, gold, round sticker. I presented this sticker on a white non-complex background. I knew my student loves the Itsy, Bitsy song. With hand under hand support, each time the sticker was presented we would touch the sticker together and I sang part of her favorite song.


With her success with pointing to this one sticker, I applied the sticker in different places on each page of the Zoom! book.





After a week, she was looking at the pages and finding the shiny sticker each time. She would lean closer to reduce the complexity, isolate her index finger, point and look at me and smile. True recognition! With the increasing interest, she really studies all the classroom adapted books and even chooses books during her free time on the mat.

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!

Checking Eye Health and Refractive Error

When receiving a new student on my caseload, I always want to have the most recent eye doctor report. A low vision evaluation is also something I like to have for each child.

One of the criteria to determine CVI is a typical eye report or an eye report that does not explain how the child is using their vision. We really need to understand our children’s ocular health and check that it includes a measure of any refractive error. Only then can we assess the CVI visual behaviors effectively and correctly. We must be aware of any ocular issues that might compound the CVI assessment results.

If the child has a refractive error, it should be corrected to the optimal degree possible with glasses. Unfortunately, many believe students with multiple disabilities will not wear glasses or will not benefit from glasses due to cognitive involvement.  This is far from the truth.  I am lucky enough to work collaboratively with a local low vision clinic that takes the extra time to obtain a measurement of refractive error for all children. Glasses are prescribed when necessary. Helping children to accommodate to glasses is never as hard as people expect.