The wagon wheel approach is a way of finding things that has been very effective for some people with CVI.
If you have CVI or you support someone with CVI, this may be helpful.
Example: Where is the Bank?
You have got out of the elevator on the second floor of the mall where you have been told your bank is...but where is it?
Above is what people with typical vision will see when exiting the elevator.
The bank for some may be reasonably easy to find, particularly if you are familiar with the logo, but not for everyone.
The mall is visually complex, there is an awful lot of detail to process. What the photo does not show is the movement of people walking in different directions and the noise.
So how do you find the bank if you can't see it?
First, look around. Find something it is easy to come back to. This ideally should be something that stays in the same place, and is either very familiar or very bold. This will become the 'starting-point' which represents the middle of your of your wagon wheel, but it does not have to be in the middle, it just needs to be a point you can visually find again.
We deliberately picked a really difficult image, and the middle point will be different for everyone, but for this example let us use the orange stall:
From the starting-point, look upwards at a pace slow enough for you to take in the detail, and look. If you do not find what you are looking for, then go back to the orange stall (your starting-point)
If you need to keep looking, from the starting-point, look up again, but this time at a slight angle to the right, imagine a wagon wheel, and you are following each of the spokes, from the central one (your starting-point) outwards, to methodically search for what you are looking for, without getting visually-lost - that is the purpose of the starting-point.
And you keep looking, until you find what you are looking for. It might look like a long complicated process, but with practice we have heard it can sometimes be completed successfully so quickly, in a split second, that someone with CVI can find something as fast as someone with typical vision (how long did it take you to spot the bank in the very first picture?).
We made a short film using this image to show you what it might be like:
Eventually, the bank is found.
Having visually located the bank, now you have to get there, and the Wagon Wheel Approach can be used again to find the route if needed. Once in the bank, it can be used to find the counter, and when your task with the bank is complete, find your way back to the elevator.
Personalise Your Wagon Wheel!
We have described a wagon wheel approach, but if helpful, you need to make yours your own.
At home, or somewhere you feel very safe, maybe with someone you know well, practice it.
Wagon Wheel Way - Benefits
Wagon Wheel Way - Limitations
CVI can sometimes mean nothing is usefully visible, not even a tiny amount of vision like looking through a straw, and this can leave someone feeling vulnerable, so a plan is needed, maybe to phone someone. It can happen any time.
Stress and anxiety have been consistently reported as making vision more difficult. If you can manage your stress levels this will help. Think about what works for you, and what you can do when out and about, maybe practiced breathing exercises for example.
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