Part 3: CVI and remote learning

Tips to give your child’s educator on how to present themselves on screen

Boy engaged in remote learning looking at his teacher on the iPad screen

Part 1 and Part 2 of our CVI and remote learning series discussed considerations for setting a strong foundation to help your child’s success and how to set up an ideal learning space that best meets the needs of your child. As a parent, you might find the need to share some tips with your child’s educator on how they can best present themselves on the screen. 

Children with Cortical Visual Impairment/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) struggle with faces, facial regard and facial recognition. Knowing this, ask, “Is a person on the screen the best visual target for the entire lesson?” Perhaps the best target on the non-complex screen is a single object related to the topic. The item should have an exact matching 3D object in the home for the best access.

When on screen, the educator should

  • Sit in front of a bare wall or drape a plain bed sheet, blanket or towel behind you.
  • Remove distracting light sources from view. Use task lighting behind the computer to illuminate your features. Do not have lamps or windows behind you or visible on the screen. Beware of glare or reflection on surfaces (walls behind you, tabletops, mirrors).
  • Sit close to the camera. The further away you are, the less distinguishable your salient features will be.
  • Wear a dark, solid-colored top. Be conscious of background contrast.
  • For students with little to no facial attention or recognition, consider wearing a black shirt to reduce complexity. Or select a solid-colored, bright top. Wear this during each 1:1 session. Tell the student and alert them to the color of your shirt (i.e., “Hi Ethan, it’s Kristina. I’m on your video screen wearing my long-sleeved orange shirt.”). 

For children who use sign language:

  • Remember, an educator providing virtual instruction with sign language has also now become 2D. 
  • Children with CVI may have difficulty interpreting the signs used by the educator due to the loss of three-dimensional qualities, reduced context clues, computer lag time and changes in size presentation (half of the educator's body is no longer visible and is fitting into a very small window!).
  • As a parent, be prepared to support the facilitation of signed instruction during the lesson.

If available, use two devices to support remote learning. Set up one device for your child to engage with the learning materials on screen, while placing the other so the educator can view your child. 

Title: CVI and Remote Learning: An educator's perspective. Picture of computers on desk with task lighting behind the computer. Picture of wall with dark blue sheet hanging down to reduce visual clutter. Picture of laptop screen that show plan background and illuminate light. Logo CVI Now

CVI parents: got questions? Join the CVI Now Parent Group to ask your questions, access live virtual events, and connect with other families.