Cortical / Cerebral Visual Impairment
Cortical or Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is defined as a vision loss or impairment due to brain injury or disease and can occur at any point in the life-span. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) eligibility category visual impairment, including blindness, students either have an ocular impairment, a neurological visual impairment, an ocular motor visual impairment, or any combination of the three. A neurological visual impairment includes students who have the diagnosis of Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) and involves damage to the visual pathways, or centers of the brain, which process visual information.
The degree of CVI can range from mild to severe and will depend upon the time of onset, as well as the location and intensity of the damage. Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) not only serve the unique needs of students who have traditional ocular visual impairments, but also students who have a neurological visual impairment. Within their preservice programs, Teachers of the Visually Impaired are trained to address the unique needs of students who experience adverse effects to their educational performance as a result of ocular and/or neurological vision loss.
Dutton and Lueck (2015) offer a description of three groups of children in their book “Vision and the Brain: Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children.”
Children with profound visual impairment due to CVI, many of whom have additional disabilities
Children who have CVI who have functionally useful vision and cognitive challenges,
Children with CVI who have functionally useful vision and who work at or near the expected academic level for their age group.
Visit APH’s CVI page for additional information from various researchers, products available for CVI, and assessment and strategies.
Gain information about adapting books for learners functioning in different phases of the CVI range.