This blog follows on directly from Blog 9, so it's worth reading Blog 9 before this one.
If you put your hands over your ears, your fingers are over the part of the brain that makes the 3D map of what you can see, that uses vision to guide your movements.
If this bit of the brain isn't working so well, then fewer things are mapped, and less accurately so.
This means that fewer things are seen, especially when there is clutter. The less accurate mapping may lead to apparent clumsiness, due to less accurate visual guidance of movement.
This is simultanagnostic vision and is what 'Mary' experiences and describes so well on this website.
There are very few papers in the world literature that mention simultanagnosia in children.
Is this because it is rare, or because it is not being recognised?
From my experience of seeing children with cerebral visual impairment over the last 25 years or more, I believe in many cases, it is not being recognised.
But why may this be the case?
There are a number of possible reasons:
So how can simultanagnostic vision be diagnosed if the child cannot describe it?
The answer is 'It can't'.
It can be suspected and hypothesised.
How could this help?
It means that the child who cannot find things, and can't cope in cluttered scenes can be parented and taught in a way that takes these difficulties into account.
But could this harm the child?
No, because this approach simply entails making things simple by focussing on, and adding simple information to what the child is attending to and doing (see Blog 9)
Following the child's agenda - not inflicting the adult's one!
Making things uncluttered, matched to experience, singular and simple, is the essence of education and all can benefit!
So, what makes one suspect that a child may have simultanagnosia, so that one can consider this approach?
Children with lack of the lower visual field commonly but by no means always have associated simultanagnosia.
Lack of lower visual field can lead to:
to name but a few behaviours
Children with simultanagnostic vision tend to:
along with many other behaviours related to not coping with clutter or crowds
Profoundly disabled children with impaired movement of all four limbs, who appear not to see, may start to look around when surrounded by an empty tent.
We have hypothesised that this is due to their having simultanagnosia that is relieved in the novel uncluttered surroundings.
If you are reading this and your child has a number of these difficulties, then it may be worth thinking about simultanagnostic vision as a possibility, and trying out the approaches that are currently being assembled on this website.
If as a result, your child starts to make unanticipated developmental strides, then this provides evidence to support the hypothesis and to carry on!
Using the KISS principle - Keep It Slow and Simple, and matched to what one's child is giving attention to, is exactly what we did for our children when they were young.
It's not rocket science, but it is so simple and basic that it can be missed in our busy worlds.
Mobile phones and tablets are an enormous visual distraction, so remember to keep them out of sight whilst you enjoy this special contact and time together. Don't expect immediate results. What you teach is not unlikely to come back to you a few days later.
Remember, clutter does not stimulate children, or help them to develop, it tends to bamboozle and overwhelm them, especially those with simultanagnostic vision!
The rewards of bringing about learning when the professionals have said it may not happen, are boundless!
Every child can learn from information they can
Your generous donations will be put to immediate use in supporting our charity...
At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.