ATIA Update! Adapted Learning for Kids with CVI

 I have been dieing to attend a workshop with Linda Burkhart since graduate school, but I just haven't had a chance to make it happen. Today, I FINALLY got a taste of her wisdom and on, of all things, one of my favorite topics-CVI (cortical visual impairment).  A bit of what I took from today's mini-session with Linda Burkhart:

  • All kids with CVI are different and even skills within each child with CVI may vary
  • Don't judge a book by its cover: not all children with CVI have the same level of,m If any, significant cognitive impairment.  
  • Successful intervention for children with CVI isn't just facilitating opportunities for sight, but also providing meaningful contexts for associative learning.  
  • Adapting materials and the environment is not a one size fits all solution for kids with CVI: try these strategies and measure how they improve or hinder visual and leaning progress

                   -Add light via use of flashlight and other focused light sources to draw visual attention to symbols and objects for children with CVI who "light gaze" 

                   -Reduc glare which interferes with "flashlight  highlighting".  One way to do so, avoid high gloss laminating film and go for low-gloss or no- gloss options.  An alternative way to protect visual supports without lamination is a waterproof paper called iGage, sold at www.trailexplorers.com

                  -Establish visual attention by incorporating movement with objects or symbols, which taps into the "fight or flight" area of the visual brain.  Move objects and symbols by shaking them in the  periphery for establishment of visual attention, and then stilling them centrally for children o establish visual focus.  Use animation in computer programs and realize tthat some kids see better when they move-bounce on therapy balls, swing, or learn while moving in other ways. 

                  -Visual complexity is a significant problem for many kids with CVI so simplify visual materials by presenting pictures and text separately, reducing detail in symbols, reducing color array, and reducing symbol array (in situations of AAC).  

                 -Mask visual complexity by using simple techniques like covering extra visual info (e.g.,  extraneous objects, busy prints on clothing or confusing work surfaces, like clear lap trays) with dark fabrics in navy or black.  

                  -Use software programs that reduce visual complexity by keeping graphics and colors simple, such as those by Inclusive Technology.  Also, incorporate additional visual and auditory info via screen highlights, sounds assigned to different functions within games and AAC layouts, and verbal auditory cues. To AAC devices  

                  -Test software for kids with CVI to meeT these guidelines and do so with your eyes literally closed so you can experience what the feedback is like.  

                    - Keep in mind that kids with CVI may have difficulty processing sensory info together.  So they may not be able to look and listen or look and physically activate at the same time.  

I love the twist that Linda Burkhart gives to the field of working with kids with severe challenges and it was so awesome to hear her share her experience in person.  She also mentioned that Mayer -Johnson is due to release a high contrast version of PCS symbols as an addendum library to BoardmKer, very exciting for the application of visuals in the learning environments of children with CVI. Goodnightbfir now, more info from ATIA tomorrow, including extra focus on apps and other great gadgets in the exhibit hall!  

Gain more insight from Linda Burkhart at her site!






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