What is CVI?


Pick & Mix, Non-Verbal Children - Labels

You only need to look at topics relevant to your child.You only need to look at topics relevant to your child.

March 2022: This section is currently under review and is due to be updated shortly.

This page has been written for parents, but is relevant to anyone supporting someone who has CVI and is non-verbal, as explained in our Introduction.

We have not written a separate section of labels for non-verbal children with CVI because there are so many different labels, which are sometimes applied to non-verbal children CVI, and sometimes not, and it would become confusing.

Click here for the Alphabetical List of Labels given to children with CVI, including non-verbal children.

As the parent of a non-verbal child with CVI, especially if they have been affected since birth, it is likely that one of the following labels has been attributed to your child:

  • complex needs
  • developmental needs
  • global delays / severe global delays
  • profound disabilities
  • multiple disabilities with a visual impairment
  • sensory processing issues
  • neurological impairment
  • intellectual disability

These labels are daunting. We know parents who feel their child has been wrongly 'written-off' as being so severely beyond reaching any developmental milestones, that even trying may be pointless.

These labels all measure your child against something called 'normal'. That 'normal' is in relation to another child of the same age as your child who is considered to have...

  • normal behaviour
  • normal abilities
  • normal levels of learning
  • normal development

We think it is not in your child's best interests to be measured against this idea of what a normal child of the same age can do, with the underlying goal for your child to be 'more-normal', or at the very least, less abnormal.

Our advisor Gordon Dutton, responding to a mother whose son had been labelled as Severely Globally Developmentally Delayed at the age of one, a label that was considered by all those who supported him as life-long, so a life-sentence, advised her:

All exceptional people like him are autonomous independent individuals whose frame of reference is themselves, and any comparison with others is inappropriate and futile.

Gordon N Dutton
  • Your child is your child.
  • Their frame of reference is themselves.
  • This is what is important to them.

Alphabetical List of Labels
Newsletter 24, introducing the labels.


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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.