cvi_2013_240This Fall, the SET-BC Vision Focus Group launched a project to support students with Cortical Visual Impairment. CVI stems from a brain injury where vision is affected, not by damage to the eyes, but by traumatic injury to the visual centers of the brain causing difficulty in interpreting and organizing visual information. Students with CVI can be our most vulnerable, with multiple disabilities that require the highest level of support. Often, their vision concerns are the last issue to be addressed as the team tends to their physical, emotional and educational requirements.

Recognizing the need to assess and address the visual needs of these students, the SET-BC Vision Focus Group proposed the idea of providing iPads with specific apps to gauge the student with CVI’s ability to focus, track and engage with visual stimuli. Seven school teams from various regions of the Lower Mainland assembled in Vancouver on Tuesday to receive training on CVI and share strategies used to engage these students in visual tasks. Throughout the 2013-2014 school year, teams will work with the students using the iPads and apps and report their findings back to the group.

SET-BC vision teachers chose five apps to add to the iPad: Tap-n-See Zoo, Talking Picture Board, Peeping Musicians, EDA Play, and Eye Movement Training. The consultants demonstrated the SET-BC provided apps, discussing the ideas of simplicity, familiarity, color choice, contrast and movement to engage the student and entice a reaction. Discussion also centered on the various indicators of engagement, the intensity of the reaction and the individual ability of each student to demonstrate interest in the app in question. In addition to the SET-BC provided apps, school teams were equipped with itunes cards in order to purchase an additional five apps of their choice to trial with their CVI student. Teams were asked to report back on their observations and successes at various intervals through the year.

Creative, Varied and Innovative efforts resulted in an enjoyable and thought-provoking launch to a project aimed at addressing the inclusion of marginalized students in 21st Century learning model. The SET-BC Vision Focus Group is eagerly anticipating future meetings with the school teams to amalgamate and disseminate information.