Strategies for Learners with CVI Using an Active Learning Approach

People often wonder what kind of modifications should be made to Active Learning activities, materials or equipment for children with CVI (cortical visual impairment).  It is beyond the scope of this website to provide an introduction to CVI, but there is a lot of good information in books and on a number of websites, for people who would like to learn about CVI. You may wish to explore some of the following:

Considerations Specific to Learners with CVI

  • We’re not always working on vision goals in all active learning environments.
  • Know the CVI Range score of your student and the educational implications when designing materials or planning activities. Knowing where the child is on the CVI Range will help you to know things like the appropriate number and spacing of visual targets, what distance is optimal, preferred visual field, preferred color, etc.
  • While many children with CVI are drawn to lights, the focus of Active Learning is on the active engagement and participation of the learner. This means that simply stringing lights for the child to look at may be interesting to the child, but we can’t consider that to be an Active Learning approach. Ask yourself what is the child is learning?
  • In many Active Learning environments there is competing sensory input, including sounds, smells, visual targets, maybe things that are hot/cold, wet/dry. For many individuals with CVI this type of competing stimulation may make it difficult for them to use their vision in an optimal way.
  • Latency is a common characteristic for students with CVI and learners should be allowed ample time to plan and execute a response.

Create Your Own Pegboard Book for Children with CVI

Diane Sheline shares her design of a pegboard book that has been created for children with cortical visual impairment.  Familiar items are attached to pegboard pages that have been spray painted black.   An Invisiboard or black mat can be placed in back of the book, so that the child doesn't look at the holes.


Read the full post and get step-by-step instructions to make your own book

Strategy to See

The CVI Den provides an environment which eliminates competing visual and tactual stimulation and makes a single target (such as the illumi-Spring) really POP!

yellow slinky in CVI den


CVI Mobiles

These mobiles were created by Diane Sheline of Strategy to See.  Note that they feature a solid black background. A single item or two have been hung from the cross bar in high contrast, preferred colors (red and yellow).  

CVI mobile1

 cvi mobile2


The PVC pipe or wooden dowel has been painted black. 

cvi mobile3


In the photo below, Mardi Gras beads are hung around a lighted cylinder. 

cvi mobile4


Make Your Own Mardi Gras Curtain

Diane Sheline demonstrates how to create your own Mardi Gras Bead Curtain. 


CVI Teacher

Ellen Mazel discusses the importance of presenting a child with CVI with items to compare at near, using familiar, preferred objects on a non-complex background, such as the metal cookie sheet shown in the photo below.

Cookie sheet with slinky and other items on it

cvi active learning collage