“Literacy begins when they look”

preferred color, light, preferred visual field
preferred color yellow, light, preferred visual field

“Literacy begins when they look.” These were the words with which Christine Roman-Lantzy began her pre-conference session last fall at Northeast AER in Vermont. These words are important because parents of children who have cortical visual impairment (CVI) need to know that when we talk about literacy, we are not only talking about kids who are in Phase III CVI (Roman). When we talk about CVI literacy, we are talking about all kids who have cortical visual impairment. Continue reading ““Literacy begins when they look””

Things people say to CVI parents

Things people say_CVIThings people say to CVI parents
Things people say to CVI parents

As parents we hear all kinds of inappropriate comments about our children who have cortical visual impairment (CVI). Some of the most common ones reported by parents:

“Vision is the least of her problems.”

“You wouldn’t know there is anything wrong with him.”

“She looks like she can see.”

“What does he SEE??” (a personal favorite)

One of our all time best comments came from a preschool special education teacher, in response to my advocating for materials to be modified for my son with CVI, to give him visual access: “We are preparing these kids for kindergarten, we need all the materials to look the same.” Neither the teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) or the orientation and mobility specialist (O&M) said a word.

Then there is the multitude of comments around Autism. People, ordinary everyday people who “diagnose” your child with Autism. Parents of kids with Autism who “understand” your experience with your child who has CVI. This is in addition to providers who regularly offer you an Autism assessment, just in case you want to access “more services.” As if feeding therapy, neurology, occupational therapy, ophthalmology, physical therapy, speech language services and everything else you do for your child was not enough. Most all providers have heard of Autism and can tell you something about it. Those same providers then get tripped up on the words, cortical visual impairment.

Parents, are these comments familiar?

Dr James Jan quote


Great quote from Dr James Jan, to whom we owe so much for his contributions on cortical visual impairment (CVI). Dr Jan’s work of studying, defining, and writing about CVI began in the 1980s. The quote illustrated here was traced back to 2001. #StartSeeingCVI2018

“Traditionally, educators for the visually impaired assisted only those whose eye conditions were associated with visual loss (reduced acuity). Now it has become necessary to offer services for those whose visual loss is due to brain damage. Thus, the definition of CVI was born.”

– Dr James E. Jan, 2001