Young child using an iPad on a stand with support at the elbow

Add an iPad to your Functional Vision Assessment/Learning Media Assessment Kit

Tips and guidelines on using an iPad as part of a Functional Vision Assessment / Learning Media Assessment (FVA/LMA) with children with visual impairments

Using an iPad as a part of a Functional Vision Assessment/Learning Media Assessment (FVA/LMA) for very young children can provide useful and sometimes unexpected information for the family, TVI and rest of the team.  As a practitioner who has experience using an iPad and iPad apps, I offer the following ideas and suggestions for using these tools as a part of a FVA/LMA.

The iPad and iPad apps are fun, educational, motivational and exciting to use, but do not in any way replace the usual methods and techniques for assessing the functional vision of very young children or children who are operating in the very earliest stages of emerging literacy. Keep using the skills, tools, materials, toys, and equipment you’ve always used to complete FVA/LMAs.  Because the iPad is very motivating for many children, it is a great opportunity to push the child’s visual and pre-academic skills a little. 

When adding iPad and iPad app activities to your assessment, keep the following ideas in mind:

Child pointing to Peekaboo Barn on iPad

This three year old with CVI and mitochondrial  disorder is highly motivated to point specifically on the animal inside the barn, wait for the doors to close, and then touch again to open the door to see and hear the next animal on the app Peekaboo Barn. If you look carefully you can see my hand holding the iPad at the bottom of the screen, managing both behavior and positioning.

Two year old child with CVI uses an iPad with support

This two year old with CVI and significant motor and cognitive impairments needs the support of my hand to keep her arm up to the screen, but she is doing the actual tapping with her knuckle on her own.  She is also able to move her arm to other places on the screen.  She is able to use her preferred field of vision with the iPad in a tilted upright position.  Finally, she does best with the sound and music on the Itsy Bitsy Spider app turned down very, very low.

As with so much in our field, your imagination, sense of ingenuity, and fun along with your knowledge as a TVI is a springboard for adventure, learning, and greater awareness of a child’s visual skills.

Here is a list of the apps I mentioned.  Of course, the sky is the limit where apps are concerned.  Please share with us apps you’ve found to be useful and fun for use in a FVA/LMA setting.

* and Paths to Literacy collaborated to create a list of great apps for very young childrenPaths to Literacy has numerous articles about materials and methods for conducting Functional Vision Assessments and Learning Media Assessments.

Collage of adding an iPad to your FVA or LMA kit

By Annette Vinding

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