Expert Q&A: CVI and AAC

An SLP and TVI discuss CVI and the implications for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Text on screen: Recorded live virtual event. CVI and Communication: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

CVI Now hosted a live virtual event on CVI and communication with a focus on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), held on October 28, 2020. Sylvia Mangan, Speech Language Pathologist, and Christopher Russell, Project Coordinator at the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative and a TVI, presented and answered parent questions about CVI and complex communication needs. We know that our kids with CVI require life-changing access to thrive and reach their full potential in a world that is not designed for them. So thinking about our topic—how does CVI impact the development of communication? And what are the implications for assessment and the development of a communication system that is individualized to a child’s unique needs?

Sylvia and Chris are two incredible professionals who work with students with CVI that have a range of needs. 

  • Sylvia is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Perkins School for the Blind. Sylvia works with lower school students and has experience working with children with CVI and complex communication needs. Sylvia is in the second cohort of the UMass CVI Certification graduate program. 
  • Chris is the Project Coordinator at the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative and a Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsed TVI. Chris has a lot of experience working with children who have CVI and additional complexities including deaf-blindness. Chris is a leading voice and educator in the CVI field. 

After their presentations, Sylvia and Chris answered questions from parents of children with CVI. 

Download the AAC/CVI Matrix!

During this event, Chris Russell discussed the AAC/CVI Matrix that he developed with Jennifer Willis, Project Coordinator at Connections Beyond Sight and Sound. The AAC/CVI Matrix is an instrument designed for educational team members of various roles, and family members of students with CVI and complex communication needs. (This instrument reflects the perspective and work of an individual theorist in the field of CVI.)

"Expressive communication modalities for students with CVI should be selected and adapted to reflect a balance between the student’s conceptual and expressive language development (Communication Matrix), and sensory access/goals appropriate to each Phase (Roman-Lantzy's CVI Range). We want to create a match between what is appropriate visually, and what is appropriate for the child’s current expressive communication and concept development. This is a “balanced”expressive communication plan." —Russell & Willis, 2020

Check out this article about CVI and AAC with a focus on identifying gaps between needs and current practice.

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