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with Lynne McAlister and Sara Kitchen, Certified Teachers of the Visually Impaired.

Sara: Now, what we're gonna talk about is the assessment tool that we will be using during our three case studies that follow this. We're using Christine Roman's assessment, and, um, it's described, and there's a lot more information about CVI as well as all of the intro, stuff we talked about, in this book. Very good tool. And we're just going to introduce the tools that we're gonna be using through this process. This process includes three components: One is an interview. And you interview the people who know the child. And if the child can communicate, you interview the child. And the people, of course, who you're gonna really wanna talk to the most are gonna be the parents because the parents have seen their child. They know their child the best. They've seen them over time. And the teachers or the caregivers you are gonna be wanting to find out information from them as well. So, um, the next step that you do after that, after you gather information, of course, you're gonna look at their files. Look for those red flags, like we talked about. Um, you're going to be observing the child, and you observe the child in a familiar environment. Then you take the information you've gathered from the interview and the records, and your observation. And you see what you still need to find out, and that is what you directly assess, or if there's anything you have questions about. Maybe the interview and the observation weren’t quite lining up together. So, you're gonna get more details from that. And what Lynne and I did with each of these case studies for this process of this project was videotape. And, you know, we wanted to be able to share what we found

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: So, we needed this videotapes examples to show. But we found through doing this is that the videoing of the observation and the direct assessment gave us so much information that we wouldn't have been able to gather in any other way...

Lynne: Right.

Sara: ...because there were things that we missed the first time.

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: The second time.

Lynne: The fifth time.

Sara: Every time... A lot of times we think we're all done with these case studies, we're looking at the video, and we noticed something else about it.

And so it's very helpful because it's like having another pair of eyes or being able to review.

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: There are certain segments that I watched over and over again.

Lynne: Right. To stop it, to freeze it. And say, "Oh, where are their eyes right now? What are they looking at?"

Sara: To figure out what, you know, field, implications, things like, um, the latency, how long you can time it, if you have that video. And those things are very hard to do when you don't have the wonderful gift of being able to go back in time, basically, and look at it again. So, we strongly advocate videotaping what you're doing.

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: And another thing that we strongly advocate if you were able to is to work with a peer. Work with another TVI because, um, it is an observational assessment which means it's subjective. And I feel a lot better about coming up with these results if I can bounce it off to somebody else and say, "Is that what you saw?"

Lynne: Right.

Sara: And sometimes it's not and sometimes the other person, like Lynne in this example, will say, "I don't think that's what that is. I think it might be this." And then, I can, you know...because it is just about me perceiving, or me taking in this visual information and processing it through my brain, and seeing how it comes out, so...if I have somebody else's brain to put it through too, it's really gonna be a lot, I think the results are a lot more solid. Though this assessment, it has been field-tested and it has been shown to be reliable assessment in at least one study. And it has interrater reliability. Not maybe to this specific thing, but to the general range of where the student is functioning. So, let's just start by talking about the process of the interview.

Lynne: All right. The first step of the process is the parent interview. And as Sara said, this doesn't necessarily mean just the parent. Interview the teacher, interview the people that know the student best. The more information you have, the more able you are to put together uh, concrete picture, you know, a nice picture of what the student can see in various environments that you may never see the student in. So, the information in the parent interview is on page what of the book?

Sara: The parent interview questions are on page 34.

Lynne: On page 34 of the book, they cover things such as the medical background, what does it say on the eye report, what does your child like to look at, do you have any concerns about how your child sees, when are they most visually alert and it goes on. And, you know, you really get a nice rich data set, you know, from these parents about what their kids can see.

And over time, you know, what changes have taken place.

Sara: Uh-hmm.

Lynne: "Oh, they see much better now.

He used to look at the blue cars when we were driving on the road. But now, he can see all the cars."

Sara: Uh-hmm.

Lynne: So, you get really, really good information...

Sara: Yes.

Lynne: ...from the parents' interview.

Sara: Yes. I think what we ended up doing because these students were not our particular students, as we ended up sending the parent interview home for the parents to fill out...

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: That's better than nothing, but it's really not ideal. I think that the best way to gather information is to have a conversation with the parents. And use these questions to guide you. But these questions aren't necessarily going to lead to the answer about the characteristic that you want information about. So, sometimes it's better when you're going back and forth. And you're conversing more because...then you can give them a little bit more information or kind of guide them towards the kind of information that you're needing...

Lynne; Uh-hmm.

Sara: ...more. And also another really helpful thing in Christine Roman's book here is...its appendix 4a and it''s not a numbered page, but it's after page 40. It is the answer guide to the parent interview questions. And really what it gives you is...if their answer is this, then that could be a positive for CVI. If you're answer is a different kind of thing,that may be a negative for CVI. So, that could kinda help you guide.

It can be a guide in interpreting what the answers are.

Lynne: The second step of the assessment is observation. And this is where you're coming in. We came in with a video camera. And you're not really, um, directly intervening with the student at all. You're just kind of looking at what they're doing in their natural environments. You know it's good to get as many of those environments as you can. Quiet environments, noisy environments, cafeteria, great place to videotape.

Sara: Oh, my gosh.

Lynne: Lot of stuff going on in the cafeteria. And just, you know, outside, how do they react when they come to walk outside, from indoors, you're looking at those reactions to light. You just wanna get as much information as you possibly can. Just see how they function in their everyday environment.

Sara: And the observation information will help guide you. Also, to what you need to find out more about in the direct assessment.

Lynne: So now, you have these two sets of information. You have the parent interview and you have the observation videotape information. And you're gonna go through those two. And, um....and it will guide you in Christine's book. She has a guide to...kind of point out where the question marks are.

"Is there a color preference?" You know, mom says yes. You didn't really see what in the observation video. Direct assessment. You're gonna wanna maybe have some things of certain colors, and you wanna see if the students can see them. Mom might have said, movement is, you know, doesn't care if things are moving or not. And you didn't really see anything in the videotape that you did. But then again, there was an opportunity for it, and so you might wanna go ahead and check the movement. And so, it's just kinda guides you into narrowing get more specific in each of the characteristic sets, how exactly are they functioning visually. And something that we found when we're doing direct evaluation, and that you also keep in mind is that this is the most difficult part of the whole assessment for the student because it's really concentrated looking.

And that's what you're setting up the environment for and that's what, you know...they just end up using their vision more during this aspect of the assessment. And so, we found it better and more productive to have several short sessions of direct assessment and not one long session. Because what we found is we would lose the kids.

Sara: Right.

Lynne: I mean, we get cooperation for, you know, 10 minutes, you know. And then, it would slowly start to go downhill from there. Just because it was just lots and lots of looking.

Sara: Right. Sometimes you can get a lot of information from, you know, from your observation and your direct assessment. And you may not have to go back and do it right away.

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: Of course, you're gonna wanna go back and do it later to see if there's change every time. But initially, it just depends on the student. With our phase 1's case study, we had to go back several times and do direct assessment because it was such a narrow field of things that we needed to test and the child would tire very quickly.

Lynne: Uh-hmm.

Sara: You know, thinking about your guess as to their visual functioning.

If you guess that they're really hard for them to work. You're gonna want to schedule as several times to see them.

Lynne: Right. And I think in all three of our case studies, we directly assessed several times for each one. So, even the phase-three student who was at a high-resolution level, he tired out pretty soon.

Sara: So, see what you get. And then, if you're done, then that's great. And if you need more, go back. And when we talk about gathering information, Christine Roman has several charts. She calls them rating systems. One of them is rating one and one of them is rating two. Rating one is, um, the first rating on this thing called the CVI range, which is figure 5.1.

It's the page directly following page 56 in the book. And rating one is the across CVI characteristics assessment methods. When you do, um, fill out rating one, it's very detailed, and you're going to want to have some help with that. Because sometimes it's hard, it's hard to know exactly whatever thing she's asking, what exactly she's talking about. So, on the page right after page 96 in the book, appendix 5a, there is the CVI scoring guide. This will help guide you in figuring out exactly what is being asked here and fine-tuning all of your answers within that rating one chart.

So, that you can write down the right thing. And so these scoring guides are very helpful in, you know, especially when you're first starting out to guide you towards really being sure of your answers.