The Bridge School

Characteristics and Phases

Completing The CVI Range Assessment includes a direct assessment of the characteristics associated with CVI and determining if and to what extent those characteristics impact a student’s participation in differing educational environments. Students who are impacted by these characteristics will have difficulty using their vision conventionally.

Students at The Bridge School with CVI and severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI) will have differing needs and indicators of their CVI. For many students assessed on The CVI Range Assessment, incorporating a visually guided reach can be one of the goals toward resolution of their CVI however, for some of the students at The Bridge School, orthopedic impairment not CVI impacts their visually guided reach and this gives some variation on how The CVI Range Assessment is administered and scored. In general however, The Bridge School follows the assessment as it is intended.

Adam can focus on photos displayed on the light box along with his creative writing. When it’s his turn to be in the Author’s Chair, he uses the light box to help him share his work with his classmates.

10 Characteristics of CVI

  • Strong color preference
  • Need for movement for visual attention
  • Visual latency when visually attending to what is presented
  • Visual field preference
  • Difficulties with visual complexity in objects, faces, arrays, and environments
  • Light gazing and non-purposeful gaze
  • Difficulty distance viewing
  • Atypical visual reflexes
  • Difficulty viewing what is novel and not familiar
  • Difficulty with visually guided reach

Once a student is assessed, information is compiled on scoring guides. The scoring guides determine a student’s range of visual function and placement within three broad phases of CVI. An educational team can then use the guidelines defined in the three phases to plan educational needs and interventions.

Carefully designed instruction and environmental adaptations help a child progress toward resolution of CVI in three phases. Roman-Lantzy, 2006.

The 3 Phases

Phase I:

  • Build consistent visual behavior for students who rarely use or do not rely on their vision.
  • Design interventions to increase a student’s visual attention for longer and more frequent periods of time.
  • Control sensory stimulus within the environment that may compete and/or distract from a student using their vision.
In this phase, Miles learns to use his vision in a highly controlled environment, with carefully selected materials. This area of the classroom is free from visual and auditory distractions (reduced visual and sensory complexity), and Ms. Caitlin uses light and movement (moving flashlight) to draw Miles’ visual attention to the target. Miles has just listened to a book about getting ready for school and now he is looking at real objects that go along with the book. Ms Caitlin is shining a light on a single-colored washcloth and giving him plenty of time to look at the object before she talks about it.

Phase II:

  • Emphasize using vision to complete a functional task. Students can use their vision to eye gaze to a choice, participate in familiar routines, and increase their participation using their vision.
  • Encourage students to look at people and objects with some competing environmental distractors.
Phase 2: Placing familiar and popular objects on a simple background provides the students with the opportunity to use their vision for a functional task such as selecting a desired toy or an object requested by the teacher.

Phase III:

  • Move students toward using their vision more conventionally.
  • Increase presentation of 2-dimensional materials and adapted to increase complexity.
  • Teach salient features.
  • Teach and encourage students to use their vision to access differing environments, increase viewing at distances and identify what may be novel.
Phase 3: At this stage, students are using their vision in more conventional ways. They learn the salient features of the objects in their environment and can access targets in different locations. The automatic door opener has a bright reflective surface and all of the outside switches are placed in the same relative position to the door so that the students learn where to look and how to access the classrooms independently.