Unlike other vision impairments, CVI stems from an injury to the visual centers of the brain that affects how it communicates with the eyes. People with CVI usually have healthy eyes but have trouble processing and interpreting what the eye sees. Certain characteristics of CVI influence the design of materials very differently from materials designed for people with vision loss or blindness, with an emphasis on maximizing the effectiveness of visual cues to help the brain interpret what it is seeing. The characteristics of CVI can be reduced over time with enough support, training, and practice.
Characteristics of CVI and improving visual perception:
- Use strong or bright colors - an object consisting of one single color is easier to process than a multicolored image.
- Movement and light help focus and identify objects
- Remove visual clutter by simplifying images to one shape and removing complex backgrounds or placing images on a solid black or white background.
- Familiar objects are easier to recognize and understand than trying to process continually new images
Guides for Creating Effective Graphics for CVI:
- Paths to Literacy Guidelines for Creating Books for Students with CVI
- Strategy to See articles and CVI projects by Diane Sheline for Paths to Literacy
- Strategy to See YouTube Channel offers video instruction for specific techniques and projects.
- Creating a CVI-friendly Peg-Board book from Paths to Literacy
- Watch a video on adapting The Itsy Bitsy Spider for CVI from Perkins School for the Blind
Watch Diane Sheline's video on Controlling the Sensory Environment:
Resources to learn more about CVI:
- Little Bear Sees - provides an overview of CVI plus tips and ideas for caregivers and teachers
- Children with CVI - presentation given by TVI's at Douglas County School District, Colorado
- Understanding Visual Impairments - presentation slides and webinar by Leslie Edmonds, Sonoma County Office of Education