What is CVI?


Clumsy (Non-Verbal Children)

By appearing clumsy, we mean your child may:

  • knock things over
  • miss things
  • bump into things
  • bump into people
  • trip over things

There are many reasons your child with CVI may appear clumsy.

Here are some reasons and causes, told from your child's point of view, with some suggestions to help.

I sometimes, often or always may appear clumsy because:


  • Yes, I knock things over and bump into things, but it's not my fault. When I reach for something, it isn't where I think it is, I don't know why.
  • Please... As my brain might not put things in the right place, for me to reach for them accurately, it would help me if you kept things in the same places, and helped me to learn to reach more slowly and carefully, if I try to grab at something too quickly. Sometimes it may help me if you guide me to carefully and slowly touch the object I'm reaching for (or the surface it's on), with my other hand, or another part of my body. This can give my brain more information about where it is, and help me to reach more accurately. And another thing. It is easier for me to have thicker pencils (and other items) to pick up than thin ones.


  • If there are other things going on around me, I might not have noticed something and accidentally have bumped into it, or knocked it over.
  • Please...reduce the noise, movement and visual clutter around me, to help me focus.


  • I don't see everything around me. Sometimes I don't see much at all, so if things are in my way, I'm going to bump into them or knock them over.
  • Please...think about what we are doing or where we are going, and look around. Think about what is visible to me. Not what is visible to you. Clear away things that are in my way. You know what I can do and cannot do. If I need help getting somewhere without hitting things or bumping into things, then please help me.


  • My brain often has to cope with too much at once. Maybe someone is talking when I'm also expected to walk somewhere, so I trip. Maybe I am trying to eat well, but someone speaks to me, so I knock something over.
  • Please... don't expect me to do lots of things at once, like listen, look and walk at the same time. That can be too much for me to do at once.


  • I'm not being clumsy, I pushed this thing over on purpose because I don't want it, but I can't let you know any other way.
  • Please...think, what it is about what we are doing that I might not like? And why? Then sort it, to help me.

Further reading
Lessons level 9 The Map


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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.