When it comes to explaining cortical visual impairment (CVI), nobody does it better than Christine Roman-Lantzy. She could be described thus: She literally wrote the book on cortical visual impairment. Or you could say, “books.” In Perkins’ series “CVI for the TVI and other professionals” Dr Roman talks at length about the impact of CVI on the social development and social inclusion of children with CVI. You can find the link to Considerations for CVI and Social Inclusion, parts I and II, below.
For part one, Dr Roman describes many examples of how the CVI ten characteristics impact the social experiences and learning of children with CVI, whether in the classroom or on the playground. The implications of the inability to recognize a familiar face or interpret a facial expression are very real. Families of children with CVI know this all too well. The impact of CVI on social development, social inclusion, not to mention on a child’s self image, goes even deeper than the inability to recognize familiar faces.
In considering how to support the social development of a child with CVI, Dr Roman describes the role of the adults, teachers and therapists. Specifically, she discusses the Zone of Proximal Learning. The CVI Range is not about telling children with CVI what to see all the time, but about providing them with an approach to figure it out and make visual sense of it for themselves.
In working with my child with CVI – and working means living with him, helping him get ready for school, sharing meals, going food shopping, spending time outside, reading a book, watching a movie – I spend far more time asking him questions about what he is seeing – asking questions to his questions – than I ever spend simply giving him the answers. Questions are about what he is seeing, what he knows visually, how visual details are alike or different (Roman) to something he already knows. Questions are always about helping him learn to figure it out, helping him to think about, rely on, and be confident about what he already knows. His questions are opportunities for learning. When we do not do this, the child loses the opportunity to learn. How many times throughout the day, does a child lose an opportunity? The goal should be to build in learning all day long. Our job is not to do it for them, our role is to help them figure it out.
You can watch or listen to the playback here: “Considerations for CVI and Social Inclusion Parts I and 2”