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Handout (Microsoft Word)

Introduction to Cortical Visual Impairment Handout (Microsoft Word)

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CVI 101

Lynne McAlister and Sara Kitchen introduce concepts related to Cortical Visual Impairment. They discuss the definition, prevalence, possible causes, and diagnosis of CVI. They also explore the notion that the brain is plastic, which allows for rewiring of how sensory information is processed. As you watch the video, keep in mind the students you currently serve (or your own child if you are a parent) and note if any of this information seems applicable.

Introduction to CVI Characteristics

Lynne McAlister and Sara Kitchen introduce the concept that there are 10 characteristics associated with CVI as outlined by Christine Roman-Lantzy. It may be helpful to study chapter 2 of Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, by Dr. Roman-Lantzy, as a companion to this material, especially if you have less experience with CVI.

Color Preference

Lynne and Sara examine the characteristic of color preference for those with CVI. Have you noticed your child or student gazing at a particular color but not at others, or did they used to?

Visual Attention to Movement

Lynne and Sara talk about how movement is integral to the brain's development of visual perception. Have you noticed your child or student visually attending to things that move, such as ceiling fans or mirrors?

Visual Latency

Lynne and Sara explore the characteristic of visual latency, which is a delay in directing vision to a visual target. Different factors such as familiarity of the target or fatigue can affect latency positively or negatively. Can you think of a time when you have experienced latency in your own visual processing? Have you noticed that your student or child responds more quickly to familiar visual input?

Visual Field Preferences

Lynne and Sara discuss visual field preferences. Not only damage to the retina, but also neurological damage or differences can contribute to field deficits. Mixed field preference may also be present. Have you noticed unusual head positioning in your student or child who has CVI?

Visual Complexity

Lynne and Sara discuss the CVI characteristic known as complexity. Complexity is broken up into a variety of sub-categories that show various ways the ability to pick out discrete visual information is impacted by CVI. Challenges can come in the form of too much information, whether it is to the visual system or another sensory system. Have you noticed certain objects are easier for your student or child to look at, or that he looks away as soon as someone talks to or touches him? What visual behaviors do you see in the cafeteria or grocery store?

Abnormal Response to Light

Lynne and Sara discuss the characteristic known as light-gazing. Light is one of the easiest things for the visual system to detect.

Distance Viewing

Lynne and Sara talk about distance viewing being closely related to the characteristic of complexity. Have you noticed that your child or student only looks at items that are very close to her face? Or that she can't recognize familiar landmarks in the environment beyond a certain distance that does not correlate with her distance visual acuity?

Visual Blink Reflex

In this video, the blink reflexes to touch at the bridge of the nose and visual threat are discussed.

Visual Novelty

The characteristic of visual novelty is introduced by Lynne. Do you notice your student or child prefers to look at familiar items or does not notice those that are unfamiliar? Do you notice more looking behavior in a familiar environment?

Visually Guided Reach

Lynne and Sara discuss the CVI characteristic known as visually guided reach.  The integration of vision of movement depends on various parts of the brain working together. Do you notice your student or child looking away before or as they act upon an object?

Resolution of Characteristics

Lynne and Sara provide an overview of how intervention impacts the development of vision for individuals with CVI. There are distinct phases of visual functioning, and within each phase, the teaching goals are different. Doing an assessment provides intervention ideas that address where the student is functioning currently. If you have a student or child with CVI, what phase would you guess they are in based on their visual behaviors?

Introduction to Christine Roman-Lantzy’s Assessment

Lynne and Sara provide an overview of the assessment process that will be used in this web exercise in the section containing three case studies. The assessment is called The CVI Range and was developed by Christine Roman-Lantzy. A tip that we learned recently in addition to the information given in the video is that the score for Rating 2 should be equal to or less than the score for Rating 1.


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