By Penny Duffy
Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is a form of blindness that is neurological. In other words, a child with CVI may have perfectly healthy eyes, but their blindness is caused by some form of brain injury or malformation.
Of course, this means that CVI can be both difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat. Babies with CVI often have good days and bad days, seeming to see something one day, and completely ignore it the next. Little Bear Sees has a great explanation of CVI characteristics.
But there are some general rules of thumb for making vision easier for kids with CVI. These kids, for example, often prefer clear, crisp images with little background clutter. They respond well to high contrast, bright colors (especially yellow or red), movement and LIGHTS!
While anything dealing with the brain can be confusing, it’s good to know there are some great educational tools that you can use to help your child learn!
Price $399 to $799, depending on the model.
The iPad comes in two sizes: the standard size (9.7 inch display) and the mini (7.9 inch display). Which size you should buy would seem like a simple question, but it really depends on your child and how their visual field is affected. The iPad mini, which is more portable, may work for some children, while the larger screen size of the standard iPad Air may work for others.
The decision to have a larger storage size may also be a wise one depending on how the iPad will be used. Will you be downloading a lot of apps and taking lots of photos and videos? Then you may want to consider getting an iPad with 64 or 128GB, which of course raises the price.
The iPad is remarkable because it is a consumer device that has so many benefits and applications for students with CVI and other forms of blindness. The iPad has many accessibility features including VoiceOver, Zoom, font settings and AssistiveTouch that can be a great benefit for many students with CVI.
But the iPad is really only as good as the apps you’ve downloaded for it. So, which apps should you get?
20 iPad Apps for Children with CVI
A tip: Before purchasing any app view other apps by the developer to see if they offer a lite (free) version of the app. Since every kid is different, it’s always best to try out an app for free to see if it will work with your child before you buy it.
- Art Of Glow By Natenai Ariyatrakool
- Peekaboo Barn By Night & Day Studios (review)
- Infant Zoo Lite By treebetty
- My Talking Picture Board by Little Bear Sees (review)
- Sago Mini Sound Box By Sago Sago (review)
- iLoveFireworks Lite By Fireworks Games (review)
- fluidity HD By nebulus design
- The Cat in the Hat By Oceanhouse Media
- Sensory Electra By Sensory Apps Ltd
- Interactive Alphabet By Piikea St
- Tap-N-See-Now by Little Bear Sees (review)
- Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box By Cognable (review)
- Big Bang Pictures By Inclusive Technology
- Read2Go By Benetech (review)
- Pocket Pond By TriggerWave LLC
- Peeping Musicians By Inclusive Technology
- Bebot – Robot Synth By Normalware (review)
- Bloom HD By Opal Limited (review)
- EDA Play By EDA Play (review)
- Bubbles By Hog Bay Software (review)
#2. Light Box
$135 to $460, depending on the size.
The Light Box is a product sold by American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The Light Box is a common tool used with children with CVI (and other visual impairments). It is a rectangular shaped box with a bright light inside and has a translucent top that allows light to shine through. The light is also adjustable, so you can turn it up or down.
The Light Box comes in two sizes: The standard Light Box is 25 x 15 inches while the Mini-Lite Box is 16 x 12 inches.
What can you do with a Light Box? All sorts of things! APH offers many products to use with the Light Box, including overlays and the Sense of Science program. Sense of Science is a collection of screens you can place on the Light Box that will teach your child about animals, astronomy or plants.
You can also place everyday objects on the Light Box to allow better viewing with the contrast. My daughter loves to place a piece of paper on her Light Box and color over it. She says she can see it so much better.
The possibilities are pretty much endless with it comes to a Light Box and people are always coming up with additional great things to do with this simple but powerful device. For more ideas:
- Fred’s Head Light Boxes: Materials, Activities, and Guides from APH
- Light Boxes & Other Ideas that Glow
- Light Box Ideas
The LightAide™ is a remarkable and innovative educational tool that is perfect for children with CVI. Let’s see…
Simple and clutter free? Check!
Bright colors? Check!
Lights? Double check!!
The LightAide combines many of the best features of both the Light Box and the iPad. It’s large and bright like the Light Box, but also includes interactive and motivating games like the iPad. It’s durable and strong like the Light Box, but easy to use to engage kids in social play and hold a child’s attention like the iPad.
The colorful lights, movement and simple graphics really have a lot of benefits for children with CVI. The LightAide has many different educational benefits. There is software available for literacy and math skills while essential skills like turn taking and visual tracking can be facilitated with a LightAide as well.
Want to know more about how you can use the LightAide with your child? Visit 5 Ways the LightAide is Great for Kids with CVI.