This page is about school / college work, and so concerns class lessons and homework. There is a separate section covering the school / college environment. The principles are also relevant for adults who work in offices and other environments.
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 non-verbal section, with alternative approaches, is to follow.
Video: There are many skills that are taken for granted a child can do, but are difficult for many children with CVI, like looking and listening at the same time, or switching attention from their book to the board, or to the teacher. Is your teaching accessible to those with CVI? Check here.Video Link: https://vimeo.com/731620485
Covered in the sections below:
- I want to be able to concentrate in class
- I want to improve my reading and find reading more enjoyable.
- I want to improve my handwriting and pen / drawing skills and accuracy.
- I want to be able to improve my number skills and maths.
What do you want to do?
I want to be able to concentrate and stay focussed on the teacher when talking, or the board, or my work, and not to be distracted.
I want to be able to concentrate in class.
- 'SET-UP' your brain, make sure all your physical needs for example hunger or tiredness are met. CVIs: Many Notes: SET-UP Your Brain
- Spend a bit of time during the lesson in different seats to find the position that works best for you. CVIs: Many Notes: Prepare
- Once you have chosen your seat, ask that things are not moved or added to the area you are viewing as something new can become a source of distraction that is so strong it can't be ignored. CVIs: Simultanagnosia Notes: Change, New Things
- Ask the teacher to be mindful of noises and to manage them, including noisy children in the class, and noise outside the classroom for example talking in corridors, or nearby outside sports. CVIs: Simultanagnosia Notes: Sounds
- Prepare as much as possible, including requesting access to new material in advance. CVIs: Many Notes: Prepare, Memory
- Ask the teacher to stand or sit in the same position when addressing the class and not to walk around too much. CVIs: Simultanagnosia, Dyskinetopsia Notes: Searching
- Ask the teacher to use 'phone talk' to describe things, recognising that you can't see as they do. CVIs: Simultanagnosia, Many Notes: Phone Talk
- Ask the teacher to use people's names when talking to them, including yours, and not to assume that everyone can know who they are looking at. CVIs: Prosopagnosia, Many Notes: Phone Talk
- Ask the teacher, if using one, to use the smart screen sparely, and to remove all unnecessary content. CVIs: Simultanagnosia Notes: Clutter
- Learn to identify what makes things difficult to concentrate, and the triggers that can make things become difficult and have an agreed plan, such as to being allowed a break, or the teacher checking the class for triggers like excess noise. CVIs: Many Notes: Help, Rest
Video: Many children with CVI struggle with reading. Most are taught to read phonetically. This could be the problem. 4-minute video explaining why, with an alternative 'whole word' approach.Video Link: https://vimeo.com/736238510 Video: Ways to identify the text, font and reading methods that are best for you.Video Link: https://vimeo.com/738288881
I want to improve my reading and find reading more enjoyable.
- Have you had a recent sight test and is your spectacle prescription up to date? Do you need spectacles or other optical corrections. (Many children with CVI need spectacles.) CVIs: Many Notes: Sight Tests
- Ensure you know how text should be selected and presented for your optimal reading. (see Finding the text, font and reading methods that are best for you video above). Changes to the font type, size, line spacing and coloured fonts and backgrounds could each help. CVIs: Many Notes: Reading
- Convert what you are wanting to read into your optimal reading format. CVIs: Many Notes: Prepare, Reading
- Ensure lighting is optimal. CVIs: Contrast Notes: Lighting
- Make sure what you are trying to read is not too low down, because the lower parts of a page can be missed. Using a book / laptop stand can help avoid this happening. CVIs: Lower Notes: Low Down Vision
- To practice reading, pick something you really enjoy, it doesn't matter if it is not considered 'educational'. You will be practicing reading, and picking up sentence structure, vocabulary, punctuation, and grammar. CVIs: Many Notes: Reading, Play
- If someone is thought to be a pre-reader, regularly read them stories. Talk about the story and let them help turn each page. CVIs: Many Notes: Play
- Try learning to use whole word recognition (see video Phonetic & Whole Word Reading & CVI above). CVIs: Simultanagnosia Notes: Clutter
- Listen to an audio version whilst following the text. Then re-read the text without the audio. CVIs: Many Notes: Prepare, Memory
- Try reading one word at a time using our free e-reader LOOK. CVIs: Simultanagnosia, Many Notes: Reading
- Try using a guide like a finger, ruler or a vision reading guide called a typoscope. Note some children have found this useful, while others have found it a distraction. so making reading more difficult. CVIs: Many Notes: Reading
- Get help with accessibility options on devices where needed. There are many yet they can be complex. Many vision organisations have professionals who can help. CVIs: Many Notes: Help, Professionals
I want to improve my handwriting and pen / drawing skills and accuracy.
- Learn and practice letter shapes by drawing with a finger in a tray of sand. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Practice, Memory
- Practice holding a pen / pencil, and drawing simple things, then, over time, more complex things. This improves fine motor skills for smaller and more detailed drawing / writing. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Memory
- Try measuring accuracy of reach from pen to paper by marking a plain white piece of paper with a black dot (big enough to see), then try to put a mark on top of the dot. If out, make a note of by how far, for example, 2mm or 1cm, and let people know as this level of accuracy will need to be catered for and accommodated. CVIs: Optic Ataxia Notes: Reaching, Memory
- To build accuracy, practice drawing a line between two thick printed lines, then progressively make the space smaller. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Memory
- Slow down! CVIs: Many Notes: Slowly
- Learn to use the index finger of the hand the person does not write with, to help guide the pen on the page. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Touch
- Use paper with wide spaced lines that are thick enough to see easily, to enable writing in between them. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Prepare
- Try using a tactile writing guide, search 'low vision tactile writing guide' on-line for options. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Prepare
- Learn to touch type, ideally using a training programme with audio instruction. CVIs: Many Notes: Plan
- Practice at home, understanding that each and every time you practice, you are making the requisite memories better and better. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Many Notes: Memory
- Practice using equipment for example a ruler, a compass, a protractor etc, at home with time and space. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Simultanagnosia, Many Notes: Plan
- If an image, diagram or picture is too complex, break the image up into small parts, draw separately and put together. CVIs: Optic Ataxia, Simultanagnosia. Many Notes: One Thing at a Time
- For pictures and drawing, allow for fun, freedom and creativity. CVIs: Many Notes: Play
I want to be able to improve my number skills and maths.
- For beginners, use counting songs to learn the names of the numbers in order. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: Memory, Play
- Learn counting and numbers using an abacus. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: Memory, Touch
- Remember multiplication tables through chanting or singing them. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: Memory, Play
- Understand how numbers are best presented to be visible, for example one sum at a time, or with increased spacing, without images etc. The video: Finding the text, font and reading methods that are best for you, can also be applied to numbers. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: Plan
- Consider ways of learning numbers and processes without seeing them, for example through touch. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: Touch
- Use words to explain where the information may be difficult to process visually and check the person has fully understood before moving on. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: One Thing at a Time
- Practice in fun ways, for example set up a grocery store at home to practice weighing, adding, and using play money to add and subtract. CVIs: Dyscalculia, Many Notes: Play, Memory