resources

What Do iPads Support for Students in Phase III

As discussed many, many times, the strategies for CVI must match the assessment results using the CVI Range (Roman-Lantzy 2007). We never can just randomly apply a strategy because it will not fit the functional visual needs of the child. If it does not fit the functional visual needs, it will not provide visual access and will not foster improvement of cognitive and visual skills.

With that reminder, I was asked about ideas for iPad apps for children in Phase III (Roman-Lantzy). Just providing a student with an iPad does not guarantee access. We need to assess the child, think about their visual needs and carefully use the iPad as a tool to provide that access.

What can be some general needs for students in Phase III?

Color: The student might benefit from color highlighting to draw visual attention to salient features of pictures and text. (Roman-Lantzy)

Light: Backlighting helps foster access to materials especially in 2D (pictures and text).

Latency: There is still a need for increased time for full visual exploration and full visual understanding.

Visual Field: Lower visual fields might be affected.

Visual Novelty: Presenting novel materials might requires salient feature and comparative exploration. (Roman-Lantzy)

Complexity: Complexity affects visual understanding in objects, increased arrays, of faces, and of the sensory environment.

Distance: Near information is more accessible. Distance curiosity is not typical so distance information is missed.

 

How do we want the iPad to support the student in Phase III based on assessed need?

Color:

  • Tools for color highlighting help support salient feature discussion in pictures and text.

Light:

  • Backlighting helps with understanding and easy of access to prevent fatigue.
  • Moving to 2D: taking pictures of their items in the environment and then providing the 2D on the backlighted iPad.

Latency:

  • Provides ability to capture images and videos for longer visual access time.
  • Capturing images can be reviewed as long as needed.

Visual Field:

  • iPad placement is flexible matched to child’s best visual field.

Visual Novelty:

  • Expanded understanding: Example: Here is one kind of mouse in the book but these are all the other kinds of mice.

Complexity:

  • Enlargement: for things at distance, for small items in complexity and for literacy
  • Overall ability to use settings and apps to reduce complexity of images.
  • Studying facial expression in photographs and videos: salient language of faces matched to voice (auditory). There can be instruction about facial expressions that match the auditory information.
  • Salient feature discussion in photographs and text.
  • Increasing spacing of words and sentences to reduce complexity of array.
  • Masking: complexity reduction with tools in Photos.

Distance:

  • Videos on the iPad: to bring information about events and concepts that occur at distance: Example: We are reading about giraffes. I think about providing a child with access to where that animal might live and how they move.
  • Access to distance classroom events: Examples: learning song hand movements for circle time.
  • Community access: taking photographs of signs and environmental materials that can be explored on the backlighted, near placed iPad.
Advertisements

Adapting Classrooms for Children with CVI

It can be a real challenge to adapt learning environments for our students with CVI. Of course, one adaptation suggestion is never the answer. The environment must match the child’s assessed functional needs around CVI. The functional visual assessment for children with CVI must be the CVI Range (Roman-Lantzy 2007). Even children in the same Phase of CVI, must have distinctly unique adaptions for their environments and for their learning. These distinct needs can only be identified with assessment of the individual child.

For a child with an ocular impairment like retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), we would never say “Oh, this child has ROP? Here are the environmental needs and the learning material needs.” We would assess functional vision to identify the unique visual needs of that individual child. Our children with CVI deserve the same respectful and accurate assessment of their functional vision. They deserve accurate environmental supports and adaptations to learning that match that assessment.

In several classrooms where I serve children, the reduction of visual and auditory complexity and controlling access to light are the most challenging environmental adaptations. The solution we have used was to create learning centers in the classroom using cubicles.

 

These cubicles were donated by a business that was renovating their offices. The donation was a free and effective environmental support for many of my students. The cubicle walls are large and sound reducing. They tend to be tall which blocks distracting light. Perfect for so many children. Call your local Chamber of Commence or contact your local Rotary Club. I’m sure businesses would be so happy to help and to see these cubicles recycled and put to good use!

What’s the Complexity? Workshop

This month I attended a full day workshop titled: “What’s the Complexity?” with creator, Matt Tietjen, M.Ed. CTVI. This assessment tool was developed to look at the characteristic of complexity as described in the work of Christine Roman-Lantzy in the CVI Range 2007.

The “What’s the Complexity?” framework takes a close look at the characteristic, Complexity,  that is most difficult to control and the characteristic that seems to effect children’s visual functioning to the greatest degree. It provides a way for parents and educational teams to assess complexity in all forms. It helps parents and teams choose appropriate materials, design appropriate environments matched to appropriate tasks and then to plan across the complete learning day for the student with CVI.

It focuses on all Phases of CVI (Christine Roman-Lantzy) but I believe is most valuable for the students functioning in Phase II and Phase III as they try to access pictures. The “What’s the Complexity?” framework also provides us with a well thought out system to assess the student’s interpretation of images. We evaluate the child’s understanding of photographs of their real items (my spoon), colored photographs of other classes of items (the class of spoons), understanding of realistic or abstract cartoon icons of items (spoons in cartoon form), colored icons (Mayer Johnson spoon) and black and white line drawings (black and white drawing of a spoon).

This is an important new tool for us as we serve our children with CVI. It will help support our recommendations for children’s accessible media. Fantastic!

I understand that a graduate class will be offered in September at Perkins elearning to deepen the understanding for using the “What’s the Complexity?” framework. I will certainly be signing up for this!

 

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.

Understanding Color in the Brain

I always find it so exciting and encouraging when brain research about the visual system continues to unwrap the great mysteries of the brain. This understanding can only move us forward in understanding CVI and in assessing whether interventions are working. I am deeply interested in why my children behave the way they do. Here is a recent article from Spectrum MIT, a publication from Massachusetts Institute of Technology: http://spectrum.mit.edu/fall-2016/color-decoder.

A Primer on Cortical Visual Impairment

This is a great article about CVI written by Sharon S. Lehman, MD, Wilmington, Delaware.

I am so pleased to see this in a medical magazine, “Review of Ophthalmology”!

This is the subtitle:

“We owe the parents of children with CVI a better explanation of their child’s condition. Here’s a look at how to start providing one”.

For too long, the ophthalmologists have not “owned” CVI. They have focused on the ocular system and completely disregarded the obvious lack of visual skills in the child sitting before them. They have referred their small patients to the neurologists where the families still found no answers. Most upsetting to me it’s the lack of referrals for these children to teachers of students with visual impairments. So much of learning is visual so help from a knowledgeable TVI is key to visual improvements and visual access.

Take a look: https://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/article/a-primer-on-cortical-visual-impairment-42791

University of Massachusetts Online CVI Class: Starts September 12th

VISN 648: Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment

Class #: 14819
Locaton: Online
Instructor: Ellen Mazel
Credits: 3

Course Description: This course provides an in-depth study of CVI and resources available for assessment and instructional strategies. Participants will further examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with CVI and the skills related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings; Pre-K through grade 12. Topics include teaching strategies in the core and expanded core curriculums, such as: literacy, career-vocational skills, visual efficiency and compensatory auditory strategies. Instruction will also address material modifications and accommodations.

Required Text:

  1. Cortical Vision Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention
    • Author: Christine Roman-Lantzy
    • Copyright: 2007
    • Available from: www.afb.org

Perkins School for the Blind: CVI Endorsement

Check out these two resources about the CVI Endorsement through Perkins School for the Blind.

Finally parents and administrators will be able to check whether their TVI is competent in this topic!

It will ensure that the TVI has had training in CVI, training in assessment of CVI using the CVI Range (Roman- Lantzy 2007) and expertise to create strategies for interventions for students with CVI.

http://www.perkins.org/stories/magazine/improving-outcomes-for-children-with-cvi

http://www.perkinselearning.org/cvi-endorsement/about

Ted Talks: Invaluable Resource

I mentioned Ted Talks in my last post. Many people were unaware of this fabulous resource. Ted Talks stand for Technology, Entertainment and Design.

This explanation is from their website:
“TED is a platform for ideas worth spreading. Started in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, TED today shares ideas from a broad spectrum — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independent TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.”

TED hires specialists in a variety of fields to give 10-20 minute lectures. I watch at least one per day. For my work, I search “vision”, “brain”, “visual processing”, “smell”, “touch”, “developmental learning” and any other topic related to my work with children. I have listened to fascinating lectures with cutting edge information about each of these topics. The search bar is in the upper right of the website home screen. Here is the link:
https://www.ted.com

TEDx is another resource. https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program

A few weeks ago, I shared a TEDx Talk by Lofti Merabet who is studying visual processing in people with blindness. Here is that link: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Blindness-is-Just-Another-Way-o

Reducing Complexity in Board Book

Reading to all young children is important for bonding, academic success, language skills, literacy, logical thinking, auditory skills, experience expansion and concentration. Many times children who are visually impaired or who have multiple disabilities rarely share in those early special reading experiences.

This book was created by the speech therapist in our preschool. She grasped the concepts about CVI, understood the CVI Range assessment results (Christine Roman Lantzy 2007) and applied them to one of her student’s materials.

IMG_0676 IMG_0675 IMG_0674 IMG_0673

This student loved to listen to the animal sounds games. The speech therapist found a board book to read. The two images were just too much for the child to look at when presented together.

She attached Velcro to the back of each page and attached a black flap on each side. She was then able to lift one flap at a time as she read that page. The flaps were removable as the child was more familiar and able to tolerate more complexity.

This book is a favorite! It matched a preferred auditory event with an adapted literacy material.