Category: Uncategorized

September is CVI Awareness Month!

It’s September, y’all! And you know what that means….

CVI Awareness Month

Happy CVI Awareness Month! This month is a great opportunity to raise awareness for this growing public health crisis. If you’re on social media, feel free to share this image. Let’s spread the word!

April is CVI Literacy Awareness Month!

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.

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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)

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Celebrating Halloween (CVI style)

Happy Halloween!

Two of the “10 characteristics of CVI” are color and complexity. This means bright, highly-saturated hues that are solid colors (with little or no patterns) tend to be easier for someone with Cortical Visual Impairment to visually process.

Red is one of the first colors our brains learn to process as infants, so it’s no wonder Elmo is often a favorite of little ones with CVI! He is solid, bright red and easily identifiable with his simple eyes and big, orange nose.

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Pictured: little girl dressed in an Elmo costume, surrounded by 4 Elmo dolls.

Another CVI characteristic is noveltywhich means a child with CVI will be drawn to the familiar since new people/places/things are much more challenging to visually process. Someone with CVI cannot simply “look” and learn what something new is; they must learn the distinct, salient features that categorize objects for what they are, which means new things require building a new framework of understanding in the brain…whereas familiar objects are ones the brain has already learned to “see” (process).

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Hello, Instagram!

Are you on Instagram? Now “Everyday CVI” is! I invite you to follow along for visual announcements and updates about new blog posts (and possibly more). Just search for @everyday.cvi.

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Not on Instagram? No worries! You can always subscribe to notifications about new posts (click on the blog Menu and select “Follow Blog Via Email”) AND/OR follow the Everyday CVI Facebook page. However you follow along, thanks for joining us on our everyday CVI journey!

Does she “look” blind now??

This was originally published on the Everyday CVI Facebook page, but I’ve decided to give it a permanent home here on the blog as well. May it serve to encourage you on your CVI journey and/or help raise awareness about everyday life with CVI.

“But she seems to be doing great.”
“What? She doesn’t look like she has special needs.”
“She doesn’t look blind.”
“Why would she ever need a cane?”
“I don’t understand; can she see? It looks like she does.”


These are things family, friends, and strangers have said about my daughter that has Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). It’s beyond frustrating for me to listen to other people comment on things they know nothing about – but that’s the thing: THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT.

We don’t owe the world explanations, but when I can shed some light on my daughter’s CVI in a constructive way it makes the world around us just a little bit more enlightened, more aware, and potentially even more inclusive. So while the focus of EverydayCVI.com is to share helpful tips and strategies that provide my daughter the visual access to improve her functional vision, today I’m sharing something a little different. It’s a glimpse into our world – not of our visual adaptations, but of what CVI sometimes looks like for our family.

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Introductory CVI Reading (For Parents or Professionals)

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

So, someone you know has received a diagnosis of Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). Or perhaps you suspect a CVI diagnosis, despite medical and/or educational professionals refusing to put a name to the condition…. But what is CVI? And how can you learn about it?

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I wish I could say that the pediatric ophthalmologist sent me home with some medical literature to read through on the day she diagnosed my daughter with CVI. She didn’t.

I wish I could say I was given a pamphlet or card with a list of resources that would teach the basics of what I needed to know. But I wasn’t.

Unlike every other time my daughter has been given a new medical diagnosis, I was sent home empty-handed. No written medical information, no leaflets, no book or website recommendations. Nothing but a diagnosis – and instructions to wait for the state agency to call about setting up vision services once they received the doctor’s referral.

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“Rosalie, Small but Mighty” (Interview on Kaleidoscope: The Cortical Visual Impairment Podcast)

Do you know Parent CVI Advocate Jessica Marquardt? If not, you should! In 2018 she launched Kaleidoscope: The Cortical Visual Impairment Podcast, where she discusses the growing public health crisis within the world of vision impairments (spoiler alert: it’s CVI!), sharing stories of neuroplasticity and visual perception.

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Jessica launched this much-needed podcast the same month my daughter, Rosalie, was diagnosed with CVI – so listening to Kaleidoscope has been an integral part of my journey as a CVI parent. I have eagerly devoured each new episode, taking heart that I am not alone and gaining insight, tips, and inspiration from others directly impacted by CVI. When Jessica asked if I would sit for an interview I felt honored and, of course, said yes!

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Celebrations and CVI Strategies

We recently celebrated a big milestone in our daughter’s life: she has been surgery-free for an entire year!!! Because Rosalie has a brain condition called hydrocephalus, she had surgery to place a piece of hardware called a shunt (which manages the condition) at two days old. Unfortunately, shunts are notorious for having complications; 40% of shunts fail within a year, 50% fail within two years, and 80% fail within ten years. Rosalie’s first shunt developed an infection and her second malfunctioned. They say the “third time’s the charm,” and we are so happy that this 3rd shunt has lasted an entire YEAR without complications!

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This 1-year “Shuntiversary” called for a celebration – but those of you that have children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) know that parties come with some challenges.

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14 More Gifts for a Child with CVI

In recent weeks I have shared my daughter’s 10 Favorite Light-Up Toys and some holiday activity, gift, and dollar store ideas for children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). But, I feel compelled to build on these posts and share some wonderful new items because my daughter, Rosalie, just received several Christmas gifts that I have been able to seamlessly incorporate into her everyday life with CVI – in play time (the best therapy!), bath and dressing routines, scheduled therapies, and when we are on-the-go (car rides, stroller rides, medical appointments, etc.).

I hope this list of 14 “CVI-friendly” gifts sparks some ideas for those of you seeking holiday, birthday, or “just because” gifts for your loved one(s) with CVI.

FYI: Rosalie is currently in Phase II CVI, is 15 months old, and is not fully mobile (but can roll/do tummy time and is working so hard on sitting independently and the pre-crawling “quad” pose). Some of these items may be more appropriate if any of these things are also true of your child with CVI, but some can be used by a child of any ability in any of the 3 Phases of CVI. Without further ado, here are 14 fantastic gifts my daughter received for Christmas.

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