Tuesday, April 12, 2011

CVI Information Blitz, Part One

This is the first part of my first ever CVI Information Blitz! I am going to be updating The Bee with several CVI posts for the month of April. I am going to go back to the basics with post #1. This post will include basic information on CVI typical behavioral & motor characteristics. The visual characteristics is a bit too much to add in as well.

I did not write this information. This is an excerpt from a CVI handout our agency provides education teams. You should always consult with your pediatrician and ophthalmologist for specific questions relating to your child.


  • Most children have overall neurological difficulties
  • May have seizures
  • Consistently inconsistent
  • Cortically Blind-don’t always have intact memories damage to memory bank (oxygen deprivation) - Cognitive evaluation of experiences is based on memory
    · Children may have central auditory dysfunction –therefore no symbolic language
  • Integration of sensory information is disrupted - child needs processing time to receive sensory information and output response
  • Pervasive brain damage


Response levels of CVI children vary widely. The ability, what, or how a CVI child sees varies child to child.

  • Disorganized, visual information maybe received though may not be organized or understood by the brain.
  • Children with CVI often don’t demonstrate habituation, a neurological process by which active attention to a stimulus decreases over repeated trials. Children with CVI can’t sort out what is most important; therefore some may always be overly responsive.
  • Often respond and react rather than interact.
  • Arousal level can be the opposite of what it appears to be. i.e. the child may fall asleep because he is overly aroused.
  • Has an expressionless face as if staring right through you
  • Has difficulty sorting out important vs. unimportant information.
  • Has difficulty anticipating what will be happening.
  • First response to experiences is emotional or reactive
    · Fatigue is often present because of overload and inability to screen incoming sensory information


CVI children have motor problems, problems with spatial orientation

  • When reaching for objects, students with CVI often look at object, turn eye gaze away and then reach with hand. Difficulty organizing visual information and reacting motorically.
  • If life is perceived as stressful, frustrating, or confusing by the child a physical response may occur i.e.: increased heart beat, slowed digestion. If the child is always on chronic alert the immune system can break down
Keep checking back for more on the CVI Information Blitz!

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