From Hospital to Home: Using Early Visual Functioning to Support Families

Early visual skills in pre-term and full-term infants are an early sensory system to develop to support the infant’s learning potential.

Anchor Center for Blind Children, a non-profit organization that supports families with young children with visual impairment from birth to six, and a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children are collaborating to identify visual function concerns of pre-term infants and follow through with ophthalmological services to families and early intervention.
The project uses the Neonatal Assessment Visual European Grid (NAVEG), a validated visual screening tool (Rossi, et al., 2017) that indicates neurological risk.

After the initial pre-term assessment in the NICU, infants that do not pass the NAVEG screening receive follow-up ophthalmological visits at six months and again at one year.

For infants identified with visual concerns, early intervention professionals and caregivers will work together to develop targeted parent education and strategies through routine-based environmental adaptations in natural environments. Research-based protocols and collaborative strategies using assessments and interventions will be collected over the next year to provide evidence of the caregiver’s interactions with the infant to (a) build functional visual behaviors, and (b) explore specific CVI characteristics.

In this presentation, Dr. Catherine Smyth, Director of Research at Anchor Center for Blind Children, will describe the project, and report on their current findings

This is a web-based, self-guided professional development activity for TVIs, VRTs, O&Ms, Parents, Teachers of the Deafblind or Severely Impaired, and Rehabilitation Specialists.
Presenter(s) Bio(s):

Catherine Smyth, Ph.D., is the Director of Research at Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver, Colorado. She has an extensive background as a TSVI in early intervention, providing support for families in center-based settings and homes. Her research interests include concept development and tactual assessments for young children with visual impairment, how vision loss affects the mealtime process, and early visual screening for infants. Her professional goals include engaging TSVIs in the research process, and to provide feasible, successful research-based interventions that TSVIs can use with families in natural settings.

January 16, 2020 - January 16, 2020
Approximately one hour