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with Diane Sheline, Independent Consultant, CTVI, CLVT.

Diane: Imagine you're working with an infant, 11 months old, who is cortically visually impaired.  You have completed a CVI resolution chart, and found that she is functioning in Phase 1.  She is building visual behaviors.  Her parents placed her on a colorful blanket on the floor with toys all around her, but she doesn't attend to them or reach for the toys.  She will gaze at the window where light is streaming through and occasionally, she looks at a bright red Elmo when it's within about 18 inches off her face and her parents shake it slightly.  The task you're trying to accomplish is to get her to increase her looking behavior.  Here's an example of what her play area might look like.

[Video clip]

[radio playing]

[end Video clip]

The toys seem to blend in with the design on this blanket.  The sunlight shining through the windows and the glare produced by the sunlight would be both attracting and distracting.  The noise-producing toys and the radio playing in the background would probably encourage auditory-attending behavior, but not visual-attending behavior.  How can we encourage looking behavior in this situation?  Let's think of some different strategies as we do our CVI Task Analysis.

We know by looking at our CVI resolution chart that she attends to single, brightly-colored targets presented against good color contrast most frequently.  She has a right visual field preference, so we will try to present visual targets on her right side.  She has difficulty with visual complexities, so we will try to present only one or possibly two simple single-colored visual targets at a time.  We will reduce sensory complexity, meaning we will reduce any auditory and tactual competing input when visual attending behavior is expected.  This student seems to be very attentive to light, so we will keep the learning area away from open windows where sunlight is streaming through.  And at times, we may even turn down or turn off the overhead room lights.  We will shine the light only on the visual target of interest or have the visual target light up.  Since we know this student attends to visual targets most frequently in near space, we will keep the presentation of visual targets within about 18 inches of her face.  We know that she responds to a red Elmo, so we will use red visual targets to begin with.  Then expand to include other bright, single-colored targets as more attending behavior takes place.  By changing her learning environment, she may now increase her looking behavior.