At a glance
- Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is a neurological impairment that impacts an individual’s visual functioning.
- Occurs at a high rate among children with multiple disabilities, children with Cerebral Palsy, and children with developmental disabilities.
- Vision can range from a mild to a profound visual impairment.
- With the appropriate assessment and intervention, the visual functioning of a child with CVI can often improve.
- The following suggestions are helpful tips, however, you should additionally consider reviewing The 10 Characteristics (Roman-Lantzy, 2018) to guide your decision making.
Adaptations for the home environment
Simplification of the environment
- Control the amount of visual clutter in view. For example, experiment with placing your child’s desk or table in a less busy area of the house.
- Eliminate background noise by turning off televisions, radios, or appliances that make a lot of noise during dedicated work times.
- All children, but especially children with CVI, need breaks from screen time. Provide your child with regular visual breaks throughout the day.
- If possible, consider using a dark blanket or towel to block stimulating backgrounds.
- If possible, position your child with his or her back to the window.
- Use lighting to your advantage! If there is too much natural light or glare, consider bringing the shades down or using an old blanket to cover the window.
- To encourage attention or looking, illuminate the items you do want your child to attend to. If you have a flashlight, you can use it as a spot light when showing materials or objects to encourage visual attention from your child.
- When using laminated materials, adjust the position of the item to minimize the amount of glare.
- Limit the amount of items on the kitchen table during activities (i.e. mealtime, arts and craft, school work).
- Simplify! Select learning materials (i.e. puzzles, worksheets) that are less visually complex or “busy”.
- If your child has preferred colors (i.e. red, yellow, etc.), consider outlining materials in those colors.
- Create high contrast materials by placing them on a black piece of construction paper, dark blanket, or towel.