Creating a life around "one thing at a time" is a worthy goal—but what do you do when it is not always possible? If like me you are living with simultanagnosia, you join me in this predicament. The good news is that despite our CVI, many of us can learn ways to function in a world that requires otherwise. If you are a parent or educator, you can teach us to use strategies which will help us function as we grow and discover our potential.
Some of my earliest memories are of my CVI miscues tripping me up when too much was going on. That still can be the case if I am not intentional about how I navigate the many aspects of my adult life. At a younger age, I would feel overtaken and that would be enough to send me flying on a spiral. My family and our community came alongside me. Together we found a basic strategy: step back, take a breath or two, brush yourself off, acknowledge the feelings and their underlying triggers, and then look for a different approach.
As an adult to this day, I use those same basic strategies and they still serve me well. They allow me to leverage my underlying problem solving and relational skills to cope more effectively. They give me a script to follow as I address situations that tend to send me spiraling—whether it is in my orientation and mobility, struggling to "see" what's right there in front of me, handling the mounting stress of a complicated situation, or simply finding my way through a clutter of competing priorities. Using your own version of these types of practical strategies may help you interrupt and manage your own CVI spirals.
Starting us early on the path of owning our CVI gives us years to practice these skills in fail-safe settings. As we grow into teens and adults, our confidence can be boosted while we refine our social and relational skills. We can become self-aware and able to constructively speak into our needs. The rewards are many as we build friendships, become more independent, and find communities to join.
Indeed, we can even be taught how to leverage the potential of our unique talents created by our different brain wiring, such as our uncanny ability to home in on only one thing at a time. In some settings, this may be an asset—provided we are also shown tools that we can use to consider broader or more multi-dimensional perspectives when that does not come naturally. That can prompt us to remember to consider the horizon, since we may not see it innately. Building upon these foundations gives us the potential to learn how to handle sequential tasks which lead us to learning how to complete projects, stay organized, and take in wider perspectives.
We may never be adept at managing too many things at a time; however, we can improve our ability to handle living in a world that expects that of us. By learning those skills as we grow up, we improve our ability to navigate better outcomes for ourselves, function in the workplace, enjoy rewarding relationships, and play a role in our communities.
Please stay tuned to my future blogs, where I will explore strategies and tactics that can be taught to help CVIers live in a world with too many things going on at a time.
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