What is CVI?


Pick & Mix, Introduction

Pick & Mix - Practical CVI Support

Person: We use the term 'person' for the person with CVI. This may be you, or someone you support and care for. It may be a child or adult.

A separate section for a non-verbal person with CVI is to follow.

Quick Start

Click on a page and give it a go:

What Is Pick & Mix?

Pick & Mix is a Four-Step Plan starting with a range of practical ideas to select from and personalise to your needs and the needs of the person you support. It is a growing set of ideas to browse, choose and try out at your pace, one step at a time. You can just do Step 1 or over time, if you wish, follow the whole plan with a pathway through learning to optimise support.

We explain why we've created Pick & Mix in our Newsletter 39 Pick & Mix.

The support starts straight away with Step 1:

  • Step 1 Give it a go!
  • Step 2 Learn More
  • Step 3 Emerging Profile
  • Step 4 Keep Learning

STEP 1 - Give it a go!

Many people have told us that they want helpful suggestions and ideas to try. That's what Step 1 is, lists of ideas and suggestions from parents, teachers, doctors and validated question inventories.

Will every suggestion definitely work?

No. But we can only find out by trying.

Two people with CVI can appear very similar in terms of underlying medical causes and conditions, yet see completely differently!

This is true for all of us because our whole life experience contributes to how our brain interprets and uses what we see.

Support needs to be tailored to the individual, not the condition, that's why Pick & Mix has been developed around the needs of the individual. None of these ideas can cause harm.

You can learn a lot about a person when things do not work, so time and effort are not wasted.

Ready to give it a go?

Pick a page:

Step 2 - Learn More

Learn more about the person you support, a bit at a time. We can't know about you or the person you support, so this is where you come in because you can work out how to personalise everything.

Next to every suggestion are references, like the ones circled red in the image below:

Each suggestion in Pick & Mix has references, relating to CVIs and Notes, circled red, above.Each suggestion in Pick & Mix has references, relating to CVIs and Notes, circled red, above.

  • CVIs indicates which cerebral visual impairments (CVIs) the advice relates to.
  • Notes are guidance notes, where we explain in a single, simple paragraph a little more about the ideas we are sharing.

We have also provided information about:

  • Personality Understanding the vision that is available is just one part of the incredible person the individual with CVI is. We have written short Pick & Mix companion guides explaining how and why some people with CVI can be forgetful, distracted, clumsy, shy, sad, anxious, angry, frightened or appear irrational. This all adds to our essential understanding of the whole person, not just how they see.
  • Labels We know that many people with CVI or suspected CVI have been told they have something else, labels such as autism or dyslexia or a learning disability. We have created an 'A-Z Labels' page to complement Pick & Mix and explain these labels in the context of CVI.

Step 3 - Emerging Profile

Over time, through trying things, with a growing understanding of the CVIs and the Notes to guide you and the person, you will be learning more, through doing.

You will be learning the reasons why some things might work, and as importantly why some things don't work.

This is evolving learning, and over time a profile of the person will start to emerge. This we call the Emerging Profile.

When the underlying causes of difficulties are not fully understood, the only option is to try things and hope for the best. This is reactive support. Step 1 is about trying things where there are difficulties, meaning the support is reactive (reacting to difficulties).

We want to show you the pathway to enable you to plan ahead and make informed choices and decisions, around any area the person with CVI wants to develop.

With the understanding of the individuals emerging profile, you will be able to get better and better at planning, increasingly optimising your support. With this, your support is becoming increasingly proactive, meaning it is more targeted to the person you support, meaning it is better!

Step 3 shows you how to change your approach from reacting to difficulties, to effective planning, making your support optimal and proactive. Step 3 shows you how to change your approach from reacting to difficulties, to effective planning, making your support optimal and proactive.

We hope the person will continue to learn more and to gradually develop new skills and confidence. Keep going!

As they develop, keep going back to Step 1 to choose the next new approach to try. The Pick & Mix approach is designed to evolve with everyone on their journey with the person with CVI, including those who are beginning to learn more and do more for themselves.

You are tuning in and learning how to see and experience the person's world, from their point of view. And we can all get better and better at it. Through sharing insights with everyone else in their world, including family members, friends, teachers and doctors, you can ensure their learning and life gains optimal support where needed because everyone is on the same agenda, and can give the opportunities that everyone has a right to.

Step 4 - Keep Learning

The most important learning resource about the person with CVI is that person.

Learning more about the different cerebral visual impairments they may be affected by and other areas like behaviours and learning will all add to your growing knowledge base, and in turn will help with the support you provide.

In this step we provide links to learn more, from just learning a little, to an advanced level of understanding.

Do what works for you, in your time at your pace.

Please note:

Pick & Mix is not a diagnostic or assessment tool.

Pick & Mix is for everyone, including where CVI is suspected but has not been diagnosed.

The suggestions are relevant for adults and children with CVI (both from birth and acquired). It is also for everyone supporting the person with CVI in any capacity, as well as the person themselves. The vast majority of adults and children affected by CVI have yet to be diagnosed. Pick & Mix is for this group too.

What If It's Not CVI?
CVI can look like many other things, particularly where a person has difficulties with learning, social communications or both. Many of our suggestions will help everyone, with or without CVI, so it is possible support may be successful for a person who does not have CVI. If the suggestions are helping, then great, but Pick & Mix is not a diagnostic tool, it is just designed to be a practical free aid for support.


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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.