“Guess Who?” game in Phase III CVI

IMG_9685This one is just for fun, because kids with CVI like to have fun. We can play a game and approach it from the perspective of cortical visual impairment (CVI). A good friend recently gave Jasper a game called “Guess Who?” My worry was that it was about recognizing facial expressions. Turns out it is more about recognizing visual details than expressions. And turns out that my son adores this game.

"Guess Who?" game in Phase III CVI
“Guess Who?” game in Phase III CVI

The basic idea is you have a board full of people (faces) tabs, and both players pick a card with a picture of one of those people. You then ask each other questions to “guess who” is on the other player’s card. With 25 cards of faces in front of you, it can be complex but as you ask questions, and knock down the tabs, the complexity of array (Roman) does not last long.

What we like best is that, as the complexity of array decreases, your questions can become more detailed. So questions go from broad, Is your mystery person a man or a woman? to more specific, Does your mystery person have facial hair? Or, Is your mystery person wearing earrings? By focusing on more specific details or salient features (Roman), the child is relying on that detailed, ventral stream vision. With this level of specificity, the game as we approach it, is more appropriate for Phase III CVI.

Another bonus is that the cards have so much detail to draw upon. My son is drawn to a person’s ears. Although he can now make eye contact, but not necessarily maintain it (Roman), his focus on ears may be his default. On a few cards, only one ear is visible. Using this motivating detail, my question was, Does your mystery person have two ears? The focus on ears made it fun for him and motivated him to look.


While the images are rich with detail, they do of course have facial expressions. Exploring this during a recent game, my question was, Does your mystery person look happy? When the game ended, my son showed me his mystery person, who he interpreted as happy. While the mouth is somewhat upturned, the overall expression is not one of happiness.

Even well into Phase III CVI, it can be easier to discriminate details like hair or earrings or dress than it is to decode a facial expression. A face is hard, even when it appears as a static illustration on a card. With “Guess Who,” my son gets to play and practice.

3 thoughts on ““Guess Who?” game in Phase III CVI

  1. Thanks Brenda-I think it is important to acknowledge all the skills Jasper has that support his ability to play this game and recognize the internal details. Many children in Phase III will struggle with the details-your description of ways to systematically add and ask for more is spot on. Also, as a side note-even children who can discriminate images of faces, including the very difficult stylized ones in the game, are not necessarily able to read the facial expressions of peers or adults in real-world situations.


    1. He’s definitely come a long way in his ability to play a game like this. Also, because the game is about “people” (faces on cards) it’s pretty motivating to him:). I could be clearer about that last part, Jasper cannot discriminate faces either, but relies on those other “details.” I used the example of Happy to show that while he may be skilled at those details, a face or an emotion is inaccessible to him.


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