Dr. Gordon Dutton

Dr. Gordon Dutton Interviews Fiona Lovett

This is a wonderful auditory interview between Dr. Gordon Dutton and Fiona Lovett, the mother of Harry, a child with CVI.  Dr. Dutton shares insights about the effected brain and puts some of Fiona’s comments in a medical context.  The most powerful part of this wonderful interview is the solid understanding this mother has of her child with CVI and the innate adaptations and strategies she’s put into use to help her son see, understand and function in this world.  It’s about 30 minutes long.  Wonderful Scottish accents make it a delight (for me as an American)! Enjoy!


In my graduate class, I ask my students to listen to this interview and place the mom’s comments about her son into the Christine Roman-Lantzey’s 10 characteristics.  They also record the adaptations mom has put in place.  There are great ideas.

Missing in the discussion is the expectation for improvement for Harry.  This expectation for improvement is central to Dr. Roman-Lantzey’s work.  It is why assessment is so important so we can meet the child at current functioning, chart improvements and adjust interventions and strategies that are no longer needed.


Understand CVI and CVI Assessment

I run into many parents, classroom teachers or teacher of students with visual impairments who ask me for ideas about educational programming for their children with CVI. The very first question is “Has a comprehensive CVI assessment been completed?” This would include the ocular assessment to rule out any ocular problems or to identify any refractive errors that might require glasses. Again and again the answer is “no”. Random supports are being used with children with no assessment, no planning and no focus.

This CVI Range Assessment is one assessment for the visual skills in children with CVI. It is not used as diagnostic criteria for CVI but as one important component to identify some important functional vision areas. Dr. Gordon Dutton has the CVI Inventory to look at the visual behaviors of CVI. The TEACH CVI Screenings provide three screening protocols for looking at visual difficulties of children with CVI.

Teachers of students with visual impairments who are serving children with CVI need training in CVI and need to join the path of continued learning about CVI. That valuable training should include understanding the brain, CVI assessments and how to create educational programming for a child with CVI to help with visual access, to build visual attention and to build visual recognition. Would a TVI serve a child with ocular visual impairment without understanding the function of the eye? With out understating how that eye problem impacts the functional vision?  Never! We couldn’t possibly make suggestions for educational programming when we don’t understand the child’s visual skills. How could we ever measure the possible improvements in a child’s visual attention and a child’s visual recognition? How could we ever create appropriate environmental and learning material supports? To not understand or assess these unique issues of brain based visual impairments is to not understand the visual needs of the child.

Doing an ocular assessment only, serves to give false information to the team and false information about the child’s visual skills.

If you are a TVI and you don’t understand how to do a CVI assessment, find out! I am teaching an online class at UMASS Boston about CVI that includes an overview the brain, of assessment of the visual behaviors of CVI and discusses some of today’s promising practices to support students with CVI. To set you on the path in learning, purchase these two books : Vision and the Brain by Dr. Gordon Dutton and Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention by Christine Roman-Lantzy.