CVI 101: Educating Children with CVI

Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is a brain-based visual impairment. That means the eye itself is healthy, but the eye’s neurological connection to the brain doesn’t work properly. It is the leading cause of visual impairment in children in the developing world, including the United States, and it often presents with other neurological disorders. Researchers suspect there are a large number of children with multiple disabilities who have CVI but have not yet been diagnosed.

Children with CVI may appear to have variable vision that changes by the day or even the minute. They are often attracted to light, brightly-colored objects and shiny or reflective surfaces. They may also focus on things that move, like the family pet. Contrast and lack of clutter can help children with CVI focus, so teachers and parents may put up black boxes or boards to eliminate distractions while they’re learning.

The techniques for instructing and providing intervention services for a child with CVI differ greatly from those for children with other types of blindness and visual impairments. Children with CVI have the potential to improve their use of vision with individualized educational programming rooted in comprehensive CVI assessments.

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