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Lynne: So, the next characteristics we'd like to talk about is complexity. And this is the most complex characteristic. It's big. It actually breaks down into three different parts. The first part is the complexity of the target or object that you want the student to look at. If something is too busy, if it's too colorful, strange, you know, too patterned, if there is just too much going on within this thing that you want somebody to look at, they may not be able to see it because the more complex it is, the more processing needs to take place before it can be seen. Faces are very, very complex. There's lots going on, you know, they're constantly moving. There's...

Sara: Remember that picture that that little guy drew of the face?

Lynne: Right.

Sara: It was completely switched around.

Lynne: The upside down face.

Sara: Yeah. That's...

Lynne: Right. And it's really common for students with CVI to not make eye contact and not appear like they look at you at all. And they kind of, uh, they're looking through me, you know. I never really know what they're looking at. They always look unfocused.

Sara: And it might lead some of our kids with CVI to be suspected of having autism, when in fact, they just can't look at somebody's face.

Lynne: Right.

Sara: Not because they don't want to look at somebody's face or because they don't find it compelling.

Lynne: Right.

Sara: If you think about the video that we saw, the little boy looking at the multicolored stripes, that's complexity issue because that was the most complex thing he looked at. And if we turn those stripes on their side, he would not look at them. So, the pattern was more understandable this way, but not understandable this way. So, he wouldn't look at it. And most of the things that we gave him to look at that were swirly or, you know, really weirder pattern, not that up and down stripes, he wouldn't look at those things at all.

Lyne: Right.

Sara: So, that's another... That's an example of the target being too complex.

Lynne: Too complex.

Sara: And when you do see him looking at that target, he's only looking at it just a little bit of the time 'cause he's just... He's easing up to be able to look at that thing.

Lynne: Uh-hmm. So, always be aware of the complexity of the object that you also want to look at.

Sara: Right. Also, another part of complexity is the complexity of the array. And the array is the background or it can also be the number of objects that you're having somebody look at. Basically, it's visual clutter, a bunch of stuff in the same area. And so, what's behind the object or what's around the object can cause problems with looking even if the object is a familiar object sometimes.

Lynne: Right. And it's not complex, you know, of itself. Christine Roman likens this to the hidden pictures and...

Sara: Where's Waldo.

Lynne: Where's Waldo, yeah. You have this incredibly complex picture and you really have to hunt even though you have a little picture of Waldo. It's real systematic. You're going through this really complex picture to try to isolate this one element. And so that is kind of, uh...

Sara: Something that you can think of. Because, I mean, lot of times, you know, I can't find Waldo. I mean, I couldn't find Waldo in a little short amount of time if my life's depended on it sometimes with those pictures, you know. And the complexity of the array is also sometimes to blame for people thinking that...As far as Christine Roman is concerned, She thinks that the idea that the visual, that the child's vision fluctuates is not really very accurate. It's more likely that it's the environment or the things that are around, that visual target, that change. And, you know, something that we might not even notice that changed...

Lynne: Right.

Sara: ...could throw somebody with CVI off completely. You know, if there's a bulletin board next to their calendar or something...

Lynne: Right.

Sara: ...that somebody just redid it, it's beautiful, it looks lovely and there's all these colors in it. But if it's getting in to their field, and all of a sudden, they're behaving differently, you know, it may be that, that is throwing them off. It's a change in the environment.

Lynne: And also, you need to keep in mind that the farther away something is from your eyes, the more things that are in the visual array. And so, you know, if you look at something very far away, you have all these extra information in the visual field. That's why a lot of kids with CVI, you may see them picking something up and they hold it really close to their eyes to look at it, that's not because they are nearsighted at all or may have nothing wrong with their eye at all. It's effectively blocking out everything that is behind it. And so, all they have to focus on is the object itself.

Sara: Yeah. It's a good adaptation, kids can...Kids who can move their bodies and who can coordinate their hands to do that, you know, they're gonna help themselves to see.

Lynne: Right.

Sara: We're gonna look at a couple of video examples of this complexity of array. The first one has an interesting colorful unfamiliar background, and some very familiar objects. And then, we take that background away. You'll see what happens.

Lynne: And on the second example, we have a student in a really typical familiar environment, the grocery store. He was out on a trip with his O&M instructor. The O&M instructor, when we were making this film, really didn't even think about the complexity of array. That just never entered her mind when she was asking him questions about the different fruits. So, it's really interesting to see what happened when Ian did change the background around the object that he was looking at.

Sara: Got a lot more visual information about that object when it went all that crud behind.

Lynne: Right. And it just, you know, just goes to show that sometimes the things, you just don't notice it, we need to start becoming more aware of what is behind, what we want these kids to see.

Sara: Right. How that affects their visual functioning.

[Video Dialog]

How about that...

How about the pinky?

It's bigger.

That is really bright.

Maybe there's a way it can be tilted up more.


That paper, got to tape it down.

Let's try this.

It's time.


Like what if...





What's the color?

Hard to tell the color.


Are they?

Maybe where you're holding it.

Could be. There you go.

Uh-huh, sort of gray.



Why don't you turn and not hold it over everything else?

Here. Come bring it over here. So you have just, like, the floor, underneath in here, so not all that clutter....There you go. You stand over by me. Can you see what color it is there?

Uh, kinda...kinda greenish.

Kinda greenish. Cool!

[end Video Dialog]

Lynne: The third, um...area of complexity is complexity of environment. These kids maybe unable to process more than one sensory input at a time, vision is hard for these kids. It takes work. And so, we've seen many examples of students, if they have auditory information coming in, then that's easier to deal with than visual information. And so, they just stop looking.

Sara: Yeah.

Lynne: So, probably more than not, in our experience, auditory wins out over the visual functioning.

Sara: Uh-hmm.

Lynne: It doesn't have to just be auditory, it could be physical. One of the students we worked with has...It's pretty hard for him to walk around and keep himself balanced. And as he's progressing through a little videoclip, he...You can see that he's really, really concentrating on walking and staying upright. And then, the vision starts to go away.

That's not his primary focus anymore.

Sara: Right. The more work that somebody's having to do to make their body work and to integrate their senses and to get to where they're going, the more easily they're gonna tire out. And, um... There's also a couple of examples that we have later in one of the case studies. You'll just have to stay tuned. If you wanna see that one, but, um... There's an example of a student who has deferred to tactual input. And I'm not referring to motor, like big motor input, and focusing on moving, I'm referring to getting a fine motor, little tactual information. Because as soon as she starts feeling this little item and exploring it tactually, you'll notice that her eyes kinda drift off and stop looking. So, looking and feeling sometimes is a harder one for our kids to do, too. And I believe, this is just a guess, but I bet Christine Roman doesn't really address that as much because more of her work was with infants who weren't having the fine motor skills that do that kind of stuff.

Lynne: Right.

Sara: So, let's look at another video. We're gonna look at the video of Cassie. And Cassie is in the cafeteria. There's a lot of noise, and she's dealing with that all right. And then, she looks at her teacher's face. Her teacher's face is very familiar, but as soon as her teacher adds a little noise, and makes a little noise at her, she looks away. And it was just too much auditory right then and there. And so... And it's very unnatural for us, as adults, when the little child looks at you, you wanna be like, "Oh, look at you." And sometimes we have to really stop ourselves from doing that because we're going to decrease the amount of time that the child can look at our faces. The next video is another example of the same thing really, but it's another thing that we have to think about. This young man is very social. He encourages...We respond to what the kinds of things that our students enjoy. And he really enjoys it when people talk to him and when they, you know, engage him and say silly stuff. And his TA was really responding to that, but when she was talking to him, he wasn't looking nearly as many times. So, I asked her to, you know, let's try some quiet...And see how he does with just walking and looking. And he's already having to really, really focus, like what Lynne was saying before, to get his body moving. And so, so that's just a lot of competing stuff right there. So, without the auditory, we just see the visual behaviors increase. So, let's look at this video.

[Video Dialog]

Left, left, left.



Ooh, Oh, Uh-oh.

We're gonna scrape off against the wall unless we change course.

[end Video Dialog]

Sara: So, just to sum up that one, you know, the first one you see him, and he looks up once. And when he looks up, it's because he ran into something.

He ran into the wall. And he lifts his head towards that. He's also a very auditory guy. So, he may have been lifting his head also to hear what was going on over there. But when everything's quiet, he looks up at least three times when we see him. And he even says hi to acknowledge the person who's walking in front of him.

Lynne: That's a good example.