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Person: Connor

Connor (CVI Classification 1) as described by his mother.

Shopping (in a busy supermarket)Shopping (in a busy supermarket)

We have started taking Connor to the supermarket when it is quiet. Key is that he is in a special trolley and facing me. I think facing out, as the camera is in this photo, would be very challenging. It is so busy, I think the thing Connor would see is the white column on the left, and he would probably walk towards it and trip over / bump into anything that was in the way. Under normal circumstances a person pushing a trolley might be enough to create a pop-out effect and draw his attention, but when it is so busy and cluttered, virtually everything is visually lost.

Learning (in a classroom)Learning (in a classroom)

Connor would never be able to focus in this style of classroom, even though it seems relatively clear of clutter, just the people in front of him would mean that he would quickly become confused. Connor goes to a special school, and his desk is against a plain wall, so that when he is attending to any task, his visual attention is not pulled away, because he does not have conscious control over it. If a teacher was wearing a bright necklace, he is likely to be visually drawn away from his activity to look at the necklace. For this reason the staff working with Connor also wear plain, normally black clothes.

In this picture I think Connor would be drawn to the blue sleeve. The arm moving up would create the pop-out effect. I know the red is closer, thus bigger, and has more contrast, but this shade of blue means a lot to Connor. It is a similar shade to cardigans and scarfs that I wear to help him find and identify me, and I have realised over time that he is drawn to the colour.

Socialising (meeting up with a friend in a cafe)Socialising (meeting up with a friend in a cafe)

Firstly, I would never take Connor to a cafe or restaurant unless it was empty, he finds them very stressful. Connor, because of his simultanagnosia, has never been able to anchor sounds. We take for granted a knowledge of what we hear because we can see it, and learn from it, but Connor can't do this - if there is a sound he is rarely able to find it. So a waiter coming to the table to take our order or someone walking by would startle him. All the other noises like coffee machines, music playing and chatter are all very confusing, and if you don't know what they are or where they are coming from quickly become frightening.

If we pretended that this was a very quiet cafe and was known to Connor so he wasn't frightened, and focused only on what he could see, I think he would pick out the bangle because it is shiny and on the woman's arm, so is likely to move at a reasonable slow speed creating a pop out effect. I don't think Connor would notice the woman's face or even realise there was a person attached to the shiny thing. The bangle might prove interesting for a few seconds, but without any wider understanding of his surroundings, I think he would very quickly become bored and irritated.

Landscape (going on an open country walk)Landscape (going on an open country walk)

This is really interesting as we go on a lot of country walks. If Connor is somewhere new he doesn't like it, and quickly becomes agitated. However, when returning to the same place which has been previously established as calm and quiet (thus safe) Connor relaxes. There is nothing I can see that would draw Connor's visual attention, but in a strange way I wonder whether not having anything specifically to look at actually helps him see more. Connor would be on his father's shoulders or being pushed in an all-terrain chair, and when out and about in quiet open countryside he relaxes and looks around, in a way that he doesn't and can't elsewhere. Connor has poor visual acuity so would not see the surroundings with our clarity, but I think (although can't know for sure) that it might be more like this (above right). It's so strange comparing the images, it's almost as though where there's less to see he can see more.


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