When I first learned of my daughter’s Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) diagnosis I began strategically implementing at least one visual adaptation to every aspect of her daily life. The only thing I could initially think of for her bath time was to show her the red Elmo faucet cover (describing what it was and what we were about to do), and then place it on the edge of the bathtub so she could (maybe/hopefully) see it while I washed her.
We now know (thanks to Rosalie’s latest follow-up CVI Range performed by a Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsee) that Rosalie has made great strides with her vision in recent months and is more solidly in Phase II (hooray for big progress!). Phase I is all about building visual behaviors and ultimately getting a child to “simply” LOOK. But in Phase II we are seriously integrating vision with function, which means I have taken everything to the “next level” in terms of functionality. It’s no longer enough to JUST get her looking, but now whatever she is looking at needs to be even more meaningful; it needs to make sense within the context of whatever she is doing (for additional explanations of the 3 phases of CVI and what kinds of environmental supports are required within each phase, check out this instructional piece written by Ellen Cadigan Mazel, a teacher of the visually impaired and CVI Endorsed Professional who blogs at CVI Teacher).
So what else have I done to further adapt bath time, focusing on integrating vision with function?
Three simple things:
First, I have been using a bright yellow washcloth.
Rosalie no longer has much of a color preference as it relates to her CVI, but yellow was initially one of her preferred colors and the washcloth color is highly-saturated. The duck face is easy to see with the black (high contrast) eyes and the bright orange duckbill. This particular washcloth was a stellar find and gift from my 90 year-old grandmother, who is known to frequent her local Dollar Tree store and has really taken to heart all that I have shared with her about her baby great-granddaughter’s CVI. Rosalie still greatly benefits from bright items with low visual complexity, so this duck washcloth is perfect!
Second, I have introduced a few bath toys…that LIGHT UP!
These bath toys are visually simple (low complexity) with bright, solid colors and uncomplicated faces. I think the functional appeal is pretty clear – and they are adorable to boot! I found this particular set on Amazon and added it to Rosalie’s 1st birthday wishlist, so I was really happy that she received them (thanks, Mom!). The lights slowly flash and change colors while they are touching the water and automatically shut off once they are removed from the water. Fun and (visually) functional!
And last, but not least, I started storing the bath toys in a sparkly, yellow bucket.
I purchased this bucket (and a red one just like it) from my local Dollar Tree back in May when they were stocked up on all kinds of summer beach/sandbox buckets and shovels. I had no idea what I would use the bucket for at the time, but I knew I would surely use it for something CVI-related at some point – and it’s finally found a good purpose for the time being!
What are some CVI strategies you have implemented for bath time in your home? I’m all ears!