Happy CVI Literacy Awareness Month!
The topic of literacy is so important for the CVI community that it needs its own month (set apart from CVI Awareness Month in September) for recognition and awareness. After all, a path to literacy for an individual with CVI must look different than a path to literacy for an individual with any other type of vision impairment. Why? Because CVI is unlike any other vision impairment. With this neurological-based vision impairment, the eyes are healthy and see what everyone else sees, but the brain has difficulty processing, recognizing, and interpreting what the eyes can see.
In other words, CVI is a disability of visual access. Appropriate strategies that adapt the environment and materials in consideration of the 10 characteristics of CVI and an individual’s unique functional vision are the key to providing access to materials. This is no different when it comes to literacy.
Literacy is defined as “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.” (UNESCO Education Sector, 2004, p. 13)
If you are working with a child in Phase I or Phase II of CVI and “reading” feels beyond the child’s current visual capabilities, please remember and be encouraged by this quote:
“Literacy begins when they look.” -Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy
That’s right. Simply getting a child with CVI to use their vision paves the way for literacy.
Now, I’m not going to attempt writing anything new on the topic of CVI and literacy. I will leave that to the experts (and you can always read what I have written about literacy on the blog by clicking the “Literacy” tag on the website Menu). But I will happily point y’all to the resources I have found helpful along the way. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but we’ve all got to start somewhere. I hope you find it helpful on your CVI journey with literacy!
CVI Literacy Resources
- Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention, 2nd Edition by Christine Roman-Lantzy (this book does not address literacy in detail, but is a foundational text that must first be understood – and lays the groundwork for improving functional vision in all areas)
- Cortical Visual Impairment Advanced Principles by Christine Roman-Lantzy (Be sure to check out Chapter 2: A Path to Literacy for Students Who Have CVI)
Online Articles & Reading
- “Accessible: Visual Recognition in Literacy” by Ellen Mazel (CVI Teacher)
- “CVI Adaptations: Bubble Words in the YouDoodle App” by Rachel Bennett (Paths to Literacy)
- “CVI and Literacy: Phonemic Awareness” by Judy Endicott (Salient Features: The PCVIS Blog)
- “CVI literacy, adapting books and text” by Judy Endicott (Start Seeing CVI)
- “CVI literacy when we least expect it” by Peggy Palmer (Start Seeing CVI)
- “Intervention must be driven by intention, not by materials” by Judy Endicott (Start Seeing CVI)
- “Literacy for Children with CVI: Overview and Implications for Different Phases” by Diane Sheline (Paths to Literacy)
- “Literacy” (American Printing House for the Blind: CVI)
- “Literacy begins when they look” by Brenda Biernat (Start Seeing CVI)
- “Moving Toward Literacy Goals: Making reading accessible and fun for students with CVI” by Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald (Salient Features: The PCVIS Blog)
- “The Neuroscience of Reading” by Ellen Mazel (CVI Teacher)
- “Specific iPad Apps for Phase III” by Matt Tietjen (CVI Teacher)
- “Troubling Misuse of Promising Practice” by Ellen Mazel (CVI Teacher)
- “Valuable CVI Awareness of ‘Mistakes'” by Ellen Mazel (CVI Teacher)
- “What do you see? How do you know?” by Brenda Biernat (Start Seeing CVI)
Webinars, Presentations, Downloads
- “Our CVI Literacy Journey into Phase III” by Judy Endicott (Perkins School for the Blind CVI Hub)
- “Strategies for Improving Literacy Skills in Students with CVI” by Diane Sheline (Perkins School for the Blind CVI Hub)
- “Vision After Occipital Lobectomy and Related Surgeries” by Monika Jones (Perkins School for the Blind CVI Hub)
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