CVI: Impact of Motion

Learn about the impact of motion and difficulty with motion perception, what this assessment area looks at, and general ideas for accommodations.

Written by: Rachel Bennett

Access the video transcript.

At Perkins, we are a gathering place of ideas. The CVI visual behaviors synthesize current research and build on the work of leading theorists in the field. CVI is a lifelong disability and we want to ensure that all individuals with CVI are fully understood. The CVI visual behaviors are an ongoing need, they can change and they can improve for some, but the need never goes away. No one area is separated from the other—the CVI visual behaviors are highly connected and all can impact the individual with CVI at any time.

Impact of Motion is emerging as a big, complex CVI behavior. It affects everything.

Look around you. Think about how many things move. You move and as you move, even just to turn your head, you create movement. We all live in a constant state of motion. So impaired motion perception is not something that will affect the person occasionally, it will affect them all the time.

Dr. Gordon Dutton, Lesson on Dyskinetopsia

What is the Impact of Motion?

  • Motion can be both a support and a big barrier to access for people with CVI.
  • Some with CVI need the motion of a target or item (slower, more methodical motion) to help gain visual attention and support visual recognition. 
  • Motion in the environment can be distracting and distressing. 
  • An over-attention to movement with an inability to disengage. 
  • Many with CVI may have an inability to process fast-moving items.
  • Many individuals with CVI demonstrate difficulty with determining the speed of motion, determining the direction of movement, and evaluating distance.
  • Some with CVI prefer objects to stay still because moving items can be disorienting and frightening while they are in constant motion. 
  • Looming behavior is when a person with CVI may get startled, frightened or upset, or pull back to moving items/people in the environment and/or as they move through the environment. 

Children with CVI may manifest motion perception deficits attributed to dorsal stream dysfunction, including abnormalities in detection of optic flow and global or biologically relevant motion, as well as visuomotor integration deficits leading to optic ataxia.

Janette Atkinson (2017)

What are some compensatory strategies related to the Impact of Motion?

Some with CVI may:

Sometimes it’s hard for me to catch balls fast and keep up with running.

Krish, elementary student with CVI

What are some look fors/questions when observing your child with CVI?

My son has a tremendous amount of difficulty being outdoors. He had an outdoor school concert (he plays piano). He was in severe panic mode as there were birds flying everywhere and lots of noise and people around did not help. Birds in particular frighten him with their sudden and unpredictable movements. In addition, he only has central vision so they seem to come out of nowhere.

Mara, CVI Parent

What are some examples of adaptations and accommodations? 

All accommodations must be based on individual assessments. The following are meant to inspire and provide a general idea. Accommodations and instructional approaches must be student-specific. Access is individual. 

Examples from a guide to common CVI IEP accommodations:

My eyes can get tired looking at things that move. My eyes go crazy.

Aidan, teenager with CVI

Following the science

Connecting current research on the brain, our visual system, and CVI to better understand the CVI visual behaviors.

Learn more about the development of the Perkins CVI Protocol.


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