Toddler boy smiles while holding out small cooking pot

Designing meaningful EI routines for your child with CVI

Ideas and guidance to help leverage everyday routines that foster meaningful development for your child with CVI

Creating a routine for your baby makes life more predictable for everyone. For a baby or toddler with CVI, it also means that you have consistent, deliberate ways to embed learning opportunities into ordinary moments, even when EI providers aren’t there. 

We know that babies learn more easily when interventions are frequently repeated, because they reinforce concepts. Daily routines can help babies with CVI:

Plus, they can help you build caregiver confidence.

How to design a daily routine

First: Don’t overwhelm yourself! Not every activity needs to have an educational purpose. Instead, it’s helpful to pick a few touchstone activities—such as mealtime, bathtime, or storytime—as learning opportunities and stick with them. Consider:

Each of these activities should build skills across social-emotional, communication, cognition, fine motor, and gross motor domains. For more inspiration, check out the activities over at CVI Journey. To learn more about the importance of tactile skills and CVI, watch our webinar on routine-based tactual strategies .

After you’ve narrowed down some activities, layer on a new level of consistency. Identify:

Download excerpts from Babies with CVI on Learning Through Daily Routines and Task Analysis

Examples of task analysis

Used with permission of Anne McComiskey; excerpted from Babies With CVI

Task analysis involves breaking down parts of a complex task into smaller, sequential steps, and then teaching each step one at a time. In order to determine how to divide a task into its component parts, teachers and parents should perform the task themselves and take note of the steps involved. They can then teach the steps to the child individually. Once a step is mastered, another is added, the child can perform all of the steps needed to complete the entire task. 

A sample task for an infant can be to replace their pacifier. The task can be broken down as follows:

A sample task for toddlers might be hand-washing. The task can be broken down as follows:

One tip: Keep these learning environments consistent. It helps to have what’s known as a “controlled environment,” with a limited number of carefully chosen sensory stimuli. This helps to reduce overwhelm, foster consistency, and improve safety. Most of all, it enhances visual attention and reduces distraction!

That said: It’s wonderful to outfit these areas with carefully chosen objects that spark curiosity and experimentation within easy reach. Here are some examples:

These are just a few examples. Need more inspiration? Check out our handy guide to accessible toys.

Go with your instincts

Most of all, remember: Instincts that come to you naturally as a parent will help your baby learn. Here’s how:

These kinds of learning opportunities don’t need to be formal or stressful—caregiver burnout is real! During these ordinary activities, you’re already embedding natural learning opportunities into your baby’s daily life.

Create a home action plan in collaboration with your EI providers

Most adults operate better with a schedule. Kids with CVI do, too! Make sure your consistent household routines carry over into EI. Post your EI itinerary—what we call a Home Action Plan—somewhere everyone can see it, like the fridge. Your EI providers should help you collaborate on a Home Action Plan.

Here’s how it looks:

Here’s a helpful readiness primer for both you and your EI team as you begin to plan interventions.

Again, we love:

Want even more ideas? Check out our tutorial on supporting family-centered practices, including naturally embedding opportunities, to improve easy adaptations of your home environment and activities within your family’s daily life.

Find more resources and helpful information on the CVI Now Early Intervention Series home page.

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