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