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with Diane Sheline, Independent Consultant, CTVI, CLVT.

Sara: I'm pleased to introduce the presenter of the intervention piece of this training. Diane Sheline has been a TVI since 1980 when she received her Master's degree from San Francisco State University in the field of Visual Impairment.  For the past eight years, however, Diane has followed her interest in the area of evaluation and assessment.  She found that she needed a tool to assess the growing number of referrals that were being received.  These students that were being referred had CVI or other brain-related vision loss. She began using Christine Roman-Lantzy's Assessment and with increasing confidence, she has assessed students for the past eight years using this tool. When speaking with TVIs around Texas, I began to hear from them who have been to Diane's training that it was very, very beneficial for them.  They really felt like they got some good solid hands on real-life sorts of ideas that they could use for intervention.  And that is why I hunted her down to get her to help with this training. And luckily for me, she graciously accepted.  So without further ado, here's Diane.

Diane: Hi, I'm Diane Sheline, and I'm happy to be here to share with you some techniques and strategies I have found helpful in encouraging students with brain damage-related vision loss or cortical visual-impairment to use vision more consistently and efficiently.  Before I get in to techniques and strategies, I'd like to discuss two important points. 

One of the most important breakthroughs of modern neuroscience is the discovery of neuroplasticity which is the brain's ability to change and adapt.  A damaged brain can often reorganize itself so that when one part fails, another can often substitute.  Since plasticity seems to be highest when children are young, it's particularly important to figure out what will encourage children to use looking behavior and use their vision efficiently.  Because then, we encourage a positive influence on how the visual system develops and functions.  Exactly what interventions we will use will change overtime as more discoveries are made about how the brain functions and how we can intervene to improve change. 

In a recent PBS program on the topic, they noted seven key factors and I'd like to mention them to you now.  Change can occur only when the brain is in the mood, alert, on the ball, ready for action.  Change strengthens connections between neurons engaged at the same time.  The brain builds on its successes.  Neurons that fire together, wire together.  This helps the brain get better at its predictive capacity.  Associations can be made more easily.  Initial changes are just temporary while the brain can learn through impact which is a powerful experience. Usually, it learns through lots of repetition, doing the same thing again and again and again.  Brain plasticity is a two-way street.  It can change itself in positive or in a negative direction.  Memory is crucial for learning.  Where you put your attention is important.  Practicing something while distracted won't help the brain change.  And the last is motivation is a key factor. 

The second point I'd like to make is that educational strategies which encourage efficient use of vision that I will share with you today may not be the same ones we use in two years or in ten years from now but I've seen a positive change in my student's visual attending behavior by using them and I hope you will, too.  I've been using Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy's materials for many years now, and I've found that when I evaluate a child with a brain damage-related vision loss or CVI and looks specifically at the CVI-related characteristics as well as determine the degree of each of these characteristics.  I am better able to tailor a program that encourages the child to use their vision efficiently. 

To discuss specific strategies and techniques, I will break them down into strategies most commonly used in Phase 1 students, with Phase 2 students and Phase 3 students.  Viewers should note that each and every student who has CVI has unique abilities, and these strategies that I'm going to present to you today are intended to only give you an idea of what might help encourage looking behavior.

I hope that they spark some great ideas for you.