CVI Iceberg

CVI icebergThe first Start Seeing CVI t-shirt was created with the idea that when an educator looks at a child with cortical visual impairment, they would see the CVI, the ten characteristics (Roman). It is intended as a reminder: “I need to talk to him, I’d better take him to a quiet, less noisy spot” or “I’m showing her this object, I need to remember to hold it over to her left” or “I’m color highlighting this photograph against a plain background, I’ll be sure to use his preferred color yellow.” Each time, you are reminded of ten things to be mindful of when working with that child.

Often when we are with a student with CVI, we see “behavior.” When it comes to the educational setting, and especially the special education or IEP setting, the word “behavior” almost never has a positive connotation. So when the teacher or therapist or administrator wants to talk about your child’s “behavior,” it is almost never a good thing.

Behavior is communication, we have all heard the quote. Like so much else, it comes from the autism community. For children with CVI, when there is “behavior,” there is usually a CVI characteristic attached to it, if you know how to look. Nearly every time.

He’s taking forever to eat that muffin!! Oh.. I forgot to seat him facing the plain wall instead of facing the entire restaurant (complexity of array).

He got so upset when I accidentally bumped into him from the left side. Oh.. his visual field deficits mean he cannot see me over there (preferred visual field).

Most children love the toy store but she always has a fit when we go inside and see  aisles and aisles of stacks of toys and games and children playing and running around and then she calms down as soon as we leave (complexity, sensory complexity). And so on and so forth.

Every time you see “behavior,” you can spot the CVI characteristic that goes with it, right beneath the surface. It’s time we all learned how to see the CVI.

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