How many children have CVI?
Recently, a major research study called the CVI Project published their findings. They found, across mainstream primary schools, at least one child in every class of thirty, had CVI related visual problems. In our introduction to this paper (all links at the bottom of this page) we explain the figures, and the importance of those two words 'at least'. With further research, based on the findings so far, we think that figure in mainstream schools may well be higher. This research is just the start.
They also found over half the children from the special school they assessed had CVI related visual difficulties.
In addition to the statistical information, this paper raises a number of important issues, the first being a lack of consensus as to what CVI is, in terms of definition and diagnostic criteria.
The CVI Project paper noted:
some authors regard reduced visual acuity as essential for the CVI diagnosis
But, of the children found to have CVI related visual difficulties, only 20% had reduced visual acuity! So what about the others? Do they not have a visual impairment? Of course they do, and some people in some places would call it CVI, but others would not - this is the problem - "What is CVI?"
Even if a child is given a CVI diagnosis by a doctor, it does not mean the child can access specialist VI support because geographic regions vary in their rules concerning who is eligible.
The criteria for children to access their local authority visual impairment services are still, in most areas as far as we are aware, based on a minimum level of reduced visual acuity, and / or visual field loss. Most of these children would not qualify. Yet they need to be recognised, as no-one can learn from what they are unable to access, and this is true for children with CVI causing perceptual difficulties as well as those causing reduced visual acuities or visual field impairment.
Even if they did get a diagnosis and did qualify, the understanding needed to support the visual needs of these children is absent in many services, where support is still centred around the needs of visually impaired children with ocular (of the eyes) visual impairments.
Just a reminder...
educational strategies designed to increase independence and functionality in children with ocular visual impairments are largely ineffective, and perhaps even detrimental, when applied to children with CVI
This quote was from a paper we featured, called CVI v OVI Neuroplasticity Paper (link below).
We understand and acknowledge the difficulties around understanding the different...
But we have children who need help now...today, what about them?
The CVI Project paper shines a light on these children, at least 3.4% of school children, most struggling with learning, none receiving support for their specific visual impairments, none previously diagnosed.
That was part of the reason we started CVI Scotland. Parents wanted a way to help other parents directly, because the restructuring of support systems in vision, including training professionals, which would require a complete review of qualifications, would take years... probably decades. Yet the children need our support TODAY.
CVI is the most common cause of visual impairment in children in economically developed countries, we know that.
It looks like CVI is also likely to be one of the biggest causes of learning and developmental difficulties in children too.
This research gives us our first solid benchmark and opens important doors to further research.
All of our links below are to other research findings we think you will find interesting. Together they build a bigger picture. The links will take you to our simple explanations and introductions, with a further link to each featured paper.
These new developments are very good and very exciting!
Enormous thanks to 'The CVI Project' and all who supported them, including the CVI Society.
The CVI Scotland Team
PS Everything new can be found in our Updates section, and via Twitter @scotlandcvi and our Facebook page.
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At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.