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4c - Their World with CVI

Posted by Helen St Clair Tracy in Level 4 - Self Referencing
Published: 28/01/2020, 12:15am | Updated: 24/02/2020, 7:33am

Video Link: https://vimeo.com/391531543

Before learning about the cerebral visual impairments, it is important to understand how incredibly well hidden they can be. Most people with CVI don't even know that they have a visual impairment, yet there are many things they may find difficult, for example:

  • Reading and / or writing
  • Being confident in social situations
  • Certain sports
  • Being in noisy busy places
  • Going somewhere new or unknown

This is where CVI is really tricky, because to help the person you have to understand what is causing each difficulty.

In the levels that follow this lesson, we aim to show you how to identify different possible reasons for such difficulties.

An understanding of these reasons, is the first step in being able to make things more accessible, as we have explained in Level 2.

In the previous lesson (Lesson 4b) we discussed what is clear and easy to understand, and what is not?

If you are supporting a person with CVI, it needs to be your responsibility to help them, by understanding what alterations need to be made to ensure the best possible access to their world. In this way, you will be able to help them to help themselves.

The range of cerebral visual impairments varies from person to person. It can be present from birth or it can be acquired at any time during life. There can be a single visual difficulty or there may be many. The impairments and resulting difficulties can be constant or intermittent, and they can be relatively severe or mild, and the person with CVIs may be minimally or profoundly affected.

CVI is hidden, deeply personal and unique to each affected individual.

Two people with CVI, even with seemingly similar profiles, can experience the world very differently from one another.

And just to complicate things further, for many, the world they experience varies due to their CVIs. This is one of the important differences between CVIs and OVIs. OVIs tend to be consistent. For some, experiences due to CVI can vary a lot, from moment to moment.

As you learn about the CVIs in the following levels, and start thinking about the person or people with CVI whom you are helping, try to teach yourself to regularly stop and think - am I self referencing? Am I using my experience to decide what they are seeing and appreciating? Or am I trying to use what I understand of their experience to do this?

We all tend to use our own experience because 'What I see is obviously what everyone else sees... isn't it?'

This approach is not deliberate, and it takes a lot of practice to remember to step outside of your own world, and into theirs to imagine experiencing the world from their point of view.

We have learned from the many parents and carers whom we know have achieved this, it eventually becomes second nature to do this. They don't have to think about it, and comfortably occupy two parallel worlds.

Checklist:

Before you move onto the next lesson, please check you understand the following:

  • CVI is a hidden disability
  • The idea that the world as experienced by the person with CVI is different to how the world is experienced by a person who does not have CVI.
  • Two people with CVI can experience the world completely differently from each other, even if they seem to have a similar profile.
  • You need to train yourself to not self reference.

Before moving on to Level 5, please review the full checklist from Level 4

  • Your world is created by your mind.
  • Your world exists in your mind, and is how you experience the world.
  • Your world is not necessarily the same as other people's worlds, so what is normal to you, may not be the normal of others.
  • You need to know what self referencing is, and how this does not work when communicating with those with visual impairments.
  • What we mean by the Limits of your Mind
  • The difference between anything being clear, less clear and not clear
  • Everyone learns best when things are clear
  • What is clear for people with CVI may be different to what is clear for you
  • CVI is a hidden disability
  • The idea that the world as experienced by the person with CVI is different to how the world is experienced by a person who does not have CVI.
  • Two people with CVI can experience the world completely differently from each other, even if they seem to have a similar profile.
  • You need to train yourself to not self reference.

Next lesson: Level 5a CVIs Basic (Occipital) - Introduction to CVIs

Congratulations on completing Level 4!Congratulations on completing Level 4!

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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.