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What is CVI?

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Educational Psychologists

We know that many children with CVI have had their learning and development needs assessed by an Educational Psychologist.

The Scottish charity Enquire have a section on their website about the role of the Educational Psychologist, click here to view it.

We have read many reports shared by parents, and one common observation we see repeated is along the lines of:

Their visual impairment is secondary to their overall severe developmental delay.

With CVI, what we show throughout this website is why visual impairment can be the cause of learning challenges. So to set it aside as something separate and unimportant shows that the Educational Psychologist is not aware of the nature of CVI in relation to that child and its significant impact in all cases.

The Educational Psychologist has a difficult job. They may be responsible for a wide area of very different educational needs, from the profoundly disabled to mental health problems in teenagers. Whilst their assessment should take into account other reports and the opinions of key people including the parents and teachers, and observing the child, there will only be a limited amount of time they can dedicate to your child, and their understanding of CVI and its impact may well be limited.

You need to help the Educational Psychologist by sharing your expertise of your child; and they must listen to you. If they don't agree with you, they need to explain why. Educational Psychologists are skilled professionals who are dedicated to the children they support. In the ideal environment both parent and psychologist should learn from one another.

It may be easier to advise at the assessment stage, rather than criticise a report you do not agree with. If the report is going to have an effect on the support your child receives, and is, from your informed point of view incorrect, then for your child's benefit you might need to consider asking for it to include the impact of CVI and the measures that need to be taken, to take this condition into account.

Here are some suggestions we put together to help your child by constructively engaging with the Educational Psychologist:

  • Ask for time to speak to the Educational Psychologist, ideally on your own without the distraction of children, so you are able to focus.
  • Know there is a limited amount of time, so think in advance about your child's key issues and how they create challenges, and also opportunities. For example, cluttered and crowded environments create challenges to learning. An uncluttered and less crowded environment, may create improved opportunities to learn. Help them to help your child.
  • Some parents have the attitude that 'it's their job to tell me, not me to tell them'. We have repeated constantly throughout this website that CVI is so unique in the way it affects each child, it can only be understood in relation to each individual, with the expert knowledge those closest to them have. You have to learn from each other, otherwise the assessment won't reflect the child's true needs.
  • Try, if you can, to take the Educational Psychologist on a short journey through your child's eyes, and show the challenges and opportunities. Each challenge will have a matching opportunity. Think about what your child can and can not perceive and what is and is not meaningful, and explain why. Are you able to do this? If not please review this whole section, and if necessary the previous sections, to learn about your child.

There are no short cuts. To effectively communicate with the Educational Psychologist, and all other people involved in your child's care, you need to understand your child's challenges and needs, and you need to invest the time to learn. This is why we have written this website.

As a knowledgeable parent, you should feel confident to engage with any professional, and be an advocate for your child. If done constructively, this can result in a much more productive relationship that can only benefit your child.

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About Us

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