Children with Cerebral Visual Impairment

Strategies to consider for children who need environmental accommodations:

Share strategies …send ideas to ssullivan@aph.org

Try not to make changes in the child’s environment

  • Store toys in small bins organized by color and type of toy
  • Put clothes back in the same place each time

Keep environment simple

  • Avoid patterned carpets and tile patterns
  • Avoid visual clutter on walls, refrigerators, bulletin boards
  • Use solid color dish, glass, silverware placed on a contrasting colored place mat

Prepare child for loud noisy places

  • Take a practice trip beforehand to familiarize child with visual cues for orientation
  • Take photographs and break down learning about the place into steps with added visual features
  • Arrive early before crowds form

Be understanding when the child’s behavior is a reaction to frustration or fear and misunderstanding of the environment

Have an orientation and mobility assessment to determine if a cane or pre-cane device is appropriate for travel or for identifying the child as visually impaired when traveling

Avoid conversations when child is using their vision to travel safely

Faces are very complex. Do not expect a child to be able to look at you and hear what you are saying at the same time. Do not take lack of eye contact personally.

Adults and peers should verbalize feelings as the child may not recognize an angry look or a sad face.

Family, teachers, friends should verbally identify themselves when meeting the child

Teachers could brainstorm use of a color identifier on name tags to assist in identification

Friends on playground should call out and let the child know where they are

Mark teams with specific color shirts or bandanas to help student find team members

Give a verbal warning when balls are moving toward the child

Allow child to sit closer to the television or movie. Child may hold head in a way that works best for viewing moving objects. Child may enjoy “just listening” to the information instead.

Eye movements may not be made independently of head movements, and may not be typical or ‘smooth’

School work may need to be uncluttered

  • Limit the number of problems on one page
  • Increase space between lines and possibly between letters of words to avoid crowding and complexity
  • Use color to highlight where the answer should be written
  • Use a typoscope to block out other parts of the page as the child is working on a problem
  • Use color to highlight or outline individual letters or words to give them meaning
  • Outline key features of pictures to highlight the important parts
  • Use a piece of black paper to act as a guide to keep the child’s place when reading and simplify the page

Help the child to develop a mental image library

  • Point out and describe environmental sounds
  • Verbally describe items and concepts
  • Provide tactile input for the child to touch/hold