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4. Incomplete Pictures

Consider an example of limited area of visual attention to be around the size of a mobile phone, so anything bigger, at arm's-length, is too big to be seen as a whole.

Some, using often self-taught scanning methods, learn to put all the pieces together to form a reasonable picture, which can be good enough to not get lost or trip over things.

So, when the person with simultanagnostic vision is going through this reception, what they must do is put together lots of smaller pieces of visual information...

This illustration is not going to be what the image looks like in the person's head, but it is illustrative of all the different single elements that have to be pieced together to make a meaningful whole.

The desk is easy, it is fixed and bold, and can be memorised. The people moving however present more of a challenge, and every visit to the sports centre reception is going to have different variables, that need to be mapped and quickly put together, to avoid walking into anyone.


  • I get stressed when people move things (I've just got to know my local supermarket, and they have moved one of the aisles, and I just walked into a shelf)
  • It is very hard to put the visual information together in busy places, where there is a lot if visual information (even harder when noisy too). "It can be extremely difficult, sometimes impossible to put the visual information together in busy noisy unknown places where there is a lot of movement, for example an airport. This can leave me feeling vulnerable, anxious and at times terrified and unable to function."
  • It is extremely difficult to put the visual information together when things are moving and changing


  • Person may appear clumsy and bump into things
  • Person may not like it when things are moved, and may appear obsessive about this in some cases
  • Person may get stressed in noisy busy places.

Profoundly Disabled people

In profoundly disabled people, Incomplete Pictures may come across, in addition to the above as:

  • Not showing awareness or interest in anything beyond their limited area of visual attention due to simultanagnostic vision. As mentioned in the previous section, it may be worth helping them to build a more complex picture using their other senses, including a song, something to feel, even a specific food to go with the experience, if appropriate.


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At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.