Tag: Books

What’s In Our Playroom?

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Spend any time in an online forum with parents of children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), and you’ll see a common theme that gets asked repeatedly. It’s also something I have been asked many times through the blog and/or the Everyday CVI Instagram page.

“What toys does your child like?”

Of course, each person with CVI is unique – and just because one child gravitates to a particular toy doesn’t necessarily mean that another child with CVI will be equally interested in it. But more often than not, children that are in similar CVI Phases and/or have comparable mobility tend to enjoy related toys/activities (which surely stems from the fact that there are 10 shared CVI characteristics).

At some point I planned to write about the incredible birthday gifts Rosalie received when she turned 2, the amazing Christmas gifts from last year that enhanced our everyday play, and (most recently) my all-time favorites from her 3rd birthday…but despite my best intentions, life happened and here we are entering the end-of-year holiday season of 2020 and I have yet to impart this information. But all of that changes today!

Without further ado, I’ve compiled a giant list of all the wonderful toys I’ve been meaning to share about for months. The easiest way for me to do this is to simply share about what’s currently in our playroom! It’s not practical or helpful for me to list literally every single thing in the room, especially because I have other children that play with things that are not visually accessible to Rosalie. Rather, I’m sharing all of the things Rosalie actually plays with and/or I’m working on intentionally introducing (you know, novelty).

Let’s get to it!

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Happy Fall, Y’all!

Happy November, everyone! Time is flying over here, so before we get too close to winter I’d like to share about a fun fall-themed book I enjoyed introducing to my daughter that has Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) (Rosalie) this year. If you follow Everyday CVI on Facebook or Instagram, you may have already seen me mention this book, but I thought it was worth sharing here on the blog as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Littlest Pumpkin” book (which has English, braille, and tactile images of foam pumpkins) is available through American Printing House for the Blind and can be purchased with federal quota funds. If you’re in the United States, this means you can ask your teacher for the visually impaired (TVI) about getting a copy at no cost to you.

Pumpkin 1

Our TVI dropped this book off on our front porch back in September (I’m bummed our therapies need to be virtual right now, but so grateful to have a team that still delivers tangible materials to us!), but it didn’t really come to life for Rosalie until October – after we visited a farm and brought real pumpkins home.

People with CVI often struggle to visually understand novel 2D images, which is why pairing books with 3D objects is such a helpful strategy for learning.

Pumpkin 2

Many times I simply have toy versions of what is shown in books, so I have to specify that it is a “TOY” and ensure that I use salient feature language to describe and/or provide tactile opportunities to help teach how the real thing looks and feels. But when I have the actual object (like a real pumpkin), that’s even better!

Pumpkin 3

What kinds of seasonal objects have you been using to teach someone with CVI about this time of year and/or to provide them visual access to stories? Please share in the comments below!

CVI Strategies for Reading “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”

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In honor of CVI Literacy Awareness Month, I’d like to share some of the strategies I’ve used to introduce my daughter with Cortical Visual Impairment to the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?ย by Bill Martin, Jr.

When I added a felt wall to my daughter’s defined play space, my mom gifted me a set of pre-cut Brown Bear felt pieces. I had fun immediately introducing the matching felt pieces to the pages in the story, which provided a fun tactile (and visual, obviously) learning experience.

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Pictured above are all of the animals from the book, but to address the CVI characteristic of “complexity” I present only one image on the felt wall at a time.

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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 mustย 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 ofย 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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Introductory CVI Reading (For Parents or Professionals)

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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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8+ Beginning Books for CVI

I love (good) books. As a child, I was a huge bookworm. As a mother, I could seriously read to my children nearly all day long if they would let me! I think one of the most personally devastating parts of discovering our daughter’s Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) diagnosis for me was the realization that reading books with her (and teaching her to read) will likely require a great deal of adaptation – and it simply will not be the same experience as I’ve had with her big brothers. Still, I am filled with hope because some children with CVI can become skilled readers – and even fall in love with literature.

In her (new!) book, Cortical Visual Impairment: Advanced Principles, Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy writes:

“I now know that some children with CVI will achieve the prerequisites for reading and ultimately become competent readers, while others will follow a different path. But I cannot foresee ahead of time which individuals with CVI will read, so I believe that all children must be provided a path to literacy. Some will use symbol systems that are not word based. Others will learn a discrete set of words that can be used for short passages or functional reading. Still others will become skilled readers who will ultimately read fluently, with comprehension and pleasure…. So I encourage my colleagues to take the risk of believing that your students with CVI are capable of literacy no matter what form it ultimately takes….” (p. 37)

Personally, at this point in time I must choose to believe that Rosalie (my daughter with CVI) can and WILL achieve literacy.ย Right now she is only 16 months old, so we have a long way to go on a path to literacy – but she takes an interest in 2D images (a skill that typically emerges in Phase II CVI) and is at a great age in regards to neuroplasticity. This is a prime time to read picture books with her and focus on building her repertoire of “known” objects!

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