LIVING WITH CVI
Since more than 80% of the information we obtain about the world around us is obtained through our visual senses, a child who has CVI or any other visual impairment, has limited or no access to incidental learning.
Visual development occurs mainly in the first 7 years of life, because the visual sense is not fully developed at birth. During their developmental years, a child’s brain learns to process visual input, even for a child with normal vision.
Now for a child with a visual impairment, such as CVI, this window period for development should be utilised. Otherwise, it can result in delays, not just on a child’s visual development, but in all areas of development. Strategies must be developed to minimise or overcome the impact.
Children with a visual impairment, such as CVI, are at risk for delays in
- Fine motor development
- Gross motor development
- Cognitive development
- Play skills
- Self-help skills
- Social interaction
- Communication and language development
INTERVENTION FOR CHILDREN WITH CVI
The brain is an amazing organ that adjusts and is shaped based on experiences (neuroplasticity).
The child with CVI can be provided with opportunities for the brain to experience certain stimuli, by making adjustments to the visual environment and/or objects within this environment.
Stimulation of functional use of vision can have a positive impact on all areas of development. The use of residual vision, acts as motivation to explore the world.
Stimulation should aim to develop the use of functional vision and/or use of non-visual methods to facilitate progress in all developmental areas.
Children who have multiple disabilities and visual impairment need a team approach for the planning of intervention and educational programs designed to meet specific needs (Hazenkamp, cited in Scholl, 1986).
Here the occupational therapist and speech therapist plays a vital role.