The What’s the Complexity Framework: Designing a visually accessible school day for the child with CVI

Learn how to use The What's the Complexity Framework in order to evaluate the complexity of school environments, tasks and materials and to guide educational teams in creating more visually accessible, appropriate learning activities for children with CVI.

Use the “What’s the Complexity” Framework to design a visually accessible school day for children with CVI.

This course addresses the, “Now what?” question that many of us face as educators and family members. Learning about CVI and its diverse variety of manifestations is an important first step, and the first few weeks of this course will focus on deepening our understanding of CVI. However, the primary theme of this course is on the practical, systematic things we can do to guide teams in implementing this knowledge throughout the school day in order to give students true access.

In the beginning of the course, participants will move toward an advanced understanding of how CVI can impact a person’s ability to process the environments and curriculum materials throughout a typical school day. In order to explore the ways in which CVI can impact a child’s behavior and access to education, we will be integrating both the literature from the “Cortical Visual Impairment” and the “Cerebral Visual Impairment” schools of thought.

Next, participants will learn how to use The What’s the Complexity Framework in order to evaluate the complexity of school environments, tasks and materials and to guide educational teams in creating more visually accessible, appropriate learning activities for children with CVI.

In addition to learning how to rate the complexity level of a particular environment or education task, we will also emphasize the importance of balancing the complexity of the environment and task in each activity, managing cumulative complexity and visual fatigue throughout the school day, assessing interpretation of two-dimensional images, and providing direct instruction in salient features.

Course objectives

Participants will:

  • Identify the main barriers to visual access throughout the school day for children with CVI.
  • Explain many of the ways in which CVI can impact a student’s access to the visual world and, more specifically the school environment.
  • Explain how inappropriate visual demands can affect the behavior of children with CVI.
  • Assess a child’s ability to interpret two-dimensional images.
  • Describe the ways in which the ideas and strategies from the literature on cortical visual impairment and cerebral visual impairment relate to and complement one another.
  • Design interventions for math and literacy instruction.
  • Complete a What’s the Complexity Assessment for one of their own students (can be a current student, past student or a hypothetical student).
  • Describe how a school team can make learning media decisions that balance the students need for the most. efficient, immediate access to the curriculum with an emphasis on opportunities to develop all sensory modalities.
  • Create a Learning Media Profile for a student, outlining the ways in which the student’s learning modalities can support one another in school activities.

Required text

“What’s the Complexity” will use selected chapters from:

  •  Lueck & Dutton (2015). Vision & the Brain: Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children. American Printing House for the Blind. Louisville, KY. (Selected chapters will be provided by Perkins).
  •  Roman-Lantzy, C. A. (Ed.), (2018) Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles, (American Printing House)
  • Roman-Lantzy, C. A and Tietjen, M (2020) Sensory Balance: An Approach to Learning Media Planning for Students with CVI (Perkins Publications)

International Participants: Please contact [email protected] for information about shipping Sensory Balance outside the United States. Our team will take your order by phone and arrange shipping.

How to earn graduate credit

You will have the opportunity to add 3 graduate credits to your registration for an additional $295.00 through Fitchburg State University (Fitchburg, MA). Instructions will be provided to registered participants two weeks before the start date.

Other payment option

To pay by purchase order, choose the purchase order option during checkout. Contact Perkins eLearning at [email protected] for any questions.

What people are saying about this course…

“Matt Tietjen’s What’s The Complexity Framework is nothing short of brilliant. He so expertly synthesizes ideas and research from multiple perspectives in the CVI world, which only deepened my knowledge and understanding. This frame translates the CVI Range results into a clear user-friendly framework for educational teams that reveals how profoundly CVI affects our children. I am so incredibly grateful to have been able to take this class and receive his detailed feedback…”

“It was very practical and useful! The materials were presented in such a way that everything made sense and was integrated. This can be hard to achieve with online classes, so it was very well organized and thought out!”

“A fabulous challenge and so skillfully done that others relatively new to their study/discovery of CVI will have no trouble learning as they follow Matt’s lead.”


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Meet the Presenters

Matt Tietjen, M.Ed., CTVI
Matt Tietjen is an education consultant and teacher of students with visual impairments. Matt earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University. He became certified in special education certification at Southern Connecticut State University. He received his certification in teaching students with visual impairments from UMASS Boston, where he also earned his Master’s in Education. Matt specializes in working with children who have cortical/cerebral visual impairment (CVI). He developed the What’s the Complexity Framework (APH Press) out of his conviction that children with CVI deserve a visually accessible school day. Matt is passionate about teaching families and educators about CVI and partnering with them to create person-centered educational programs. Matt’s What’s the Complexity Framework appears as Chapter 4 in “Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles,” edited by Christine Roman-Lantzy. Matt presents internationally on CVI and teaches CVI graduate courses through UMASS Boston, Perkins School for the Blind, and Fitchburg State University. Matt, along with two co-authors, is currently writing a book on academic accommodations for students with CVI (Perkins Publications).

Matt Tietjen has been paid by Perkins to be the instructor for this class. He does not have nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

Some publications or products used in this course are produced, manufactured, or resold by Perkins.

Perkins School for the Blind is approved by the Continuing Education board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to provide continuing education activities in speech-language pathology and audiology. See the course information for number of ASHA CEUs, instructional level, and content area. ASHA CE Provider approval does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products, or clinical procedures.

ASHA CE Approved Provider

September 26, 2022 - November 20, 2022
Multiple weeks
3 Graduate
40 Continuing Education
40 Professional Development
3.3 ASHA
3.3 AOTA
$450 - Regular Price