There are many misconceptions surrounding cortical visual impairment (CVI). One of these, that we encounter frequently, is the idea that the vision of a child with CVI is constantly changing.
We have read on many well-meaning websites that from day to day or even hour to hour or minute to minute, the vision of someone with CVI fluctuates wildly. This is NOT true. Yet it’s easy to understand why this myth is so common. A child with CVI may appear to see an object very well on one occasion and hardly at all the next.
But if it’s not the child’s vision that changes, what is it?
Dr. Roman-Lantzy reminds us that if a child’s vision has appeared to change, we must look for causes outside of the child. Some external factor is making it harder for the child to use his vision. Perhaps the environment has changed. For example, an environment with lots of noise or other competing sensory input can easily distract a child with CVI from using his vision. Being tired, hungry, not feeling well or otherwise distracted can also complicate the child’s ability to use her vision.
This does not mean the child’s vision has changed, but that something outside of the child has changed and made it harder for her to use her vision.
This is actually an incredibly important distinction. It places the responsibility squarely on us instead of the child.
So, if a child appears to be having a harder time using her vision, ask yourself what YOU can do to help. What environmental changes can you make to help him use the vision he has? It can be useful to review the common characteristics of CVI to understand more about adaptations that can help.