Opportunities to use vision should be incorporated into your child’s everyday life. For example, you might use a red bowl or plate for each meal. Adding a red ribbon to a bottle for younger children works well. You could also place a red object on or near the diaper changing table, car seat, or wheelchair. The key is to place opportunities for the child to see throughout their daily routine. It becomes easier and easier for CVI kids to see these objects as they become familiar with them. It can also be helpful to keep one familiar object with your child throughout the day. This allows the child to learn to recognize the object in different environments. Furthermore, children with CVI may tire easily when engaged in visual tasks, which is another reason to keep vision sessions short and frequent throughout the day.
In order to maximize your child’s ability to use vision throughout the day, it is important to provide spaces that are free of distractions and visual clutter. Learning to see can be very taxing and difficult for a child with CVI. If the environment is too visually complex or contains competing sensory input, it can be difficult for the child to focus on visual clues. You can reduce visual clutter by providing an all-black background against which the shiny, bright, highly saturated colored objects can be placed. Try to eliminate noise to give your child the ability to simply focus on seeing.
Because latency is a common characteristic of CVI, children often need a lot of time to respond visually. When presenting an object, remember that you may need to wait several minutes before seeing a response. This is especially true of unfamiliar objects. When we first started working with one of our children with CVI, she would look at objects for only a second at a time before looking away. What was important was that she would return to the object repeatedly.
It is key to keep it simple when introducing objects to CVI children. It is also important to remember that it will be much easier for your child to see if they are properly positioned. Ensure your child has as much support as possible.
We recommend you find a vision specialist who is familiar with CVI. Often this can be accomplished through early intervention, your school system, or your local government programs. Regular visits to provide information, education, and further intervention ideas are very helpful.
For specific suggestions on helping your child with CVI, visit our Vision blog!
How to Introduce Objects to Children with CVI