CVI Mascot - VIC

Blogs & News

Gordon Dutton’s Blog (32) Making Things Accessible

  • Are the words as I speak, slow and clear enough to be made sense of?
  • Is that book in the part of the visual field where it can all be seen?
  • Am I close enough for my facial expressions to be seen and understood?
  • Are my clothes plain enough for things I’m holding up to be seen against them?
  • If the answer is no, it’s simple to change things for the better, and to find and stay within each child’s limits.

No-one can learn from what they cannot perceive or understand...

...this is obvious, yet easy to forget about.

We need to be sure that everything we do with all the children we are taking responsibility for, is accessible, at home, at school, and out and about. Otherwise their learning and development will be limited and many of our efforts will be wasted.

How can we do this?

We need to find out and get to know each and every limitation each child has, and its degree, so we can always make sure that all learning opportunities we provide are made accessible and learnable one way or another, by always staying within these limitations.

But what are they?

Incoming information is processed by the brain in terms of time, space and person.

So here are some key questions to keep asking oneself about...

...time

  • Is that car slow enough to be seen?
  • Am I approaching slowly enough not to cause distress?
  • Are the words as I speak, slow and clear enough to be made sense of?

...space

Is that toy...

  • ...big enough?
  • ...placed where it can be seen?
  • ...separated enough from every other toy?
  • ...not surrounded by clutter?
  • ...not on a patterned background?

Is that book in the part of the visual field where it can all be seen?

Am I close enough for...

  • ...my face to be recognised? Or do I need to speak to be recognised?
  • ...my facial expressions to be seen and understood? Or do I need to regularly use words to label my child's emotions, as well as my emotions?

Is there a patterned background behind me? And do I need to move to a place where there is no clutter there.

Are my clothes plain enough for things I'm holding up to be seen against them?

...and person

  • Is it too bright or too dark?
  • Is it too hot or too cold?
  • Is the child hungry, or upset?
  • Is the child happy? (Only happy children learn.)
  • Is this crowded classroom stressful?
  • Is my child's bedroom calm and relaxing enough?
  • Does my child know and understand the words I'm using, and what they all mean?

If the answer is no, it's simple to change things for the better, and to find and stay within each child's limits.

If what we provide and what we do with our children is not learnable because it is inaccessible or not understandable for one reason or another it is up to us to sort it straight away.

It is not they who have learning disabilities, it is we who have teaching challenges to overcome. It's always our responsibility to find out and use the best ways of helping the children we are responsible for to learn to the best of their ability.

As a Dad and a Grandad and as a teacher, I've always had these ideas at the back of my mind when (grand)parenting or teaching, and have tried to adjust accordingly.

Making sure we do this from day-to-day, can make a big positive difference!

HELP SUPPORT US

Your generous donations will be put to immediate use in supporting our charity...

Donate Here

About Us

At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.