The Bridge School

Cortical Visual Impairment

Who We Are & Vision Needs of Our Students

The Bridge School and Environment

The Bridge School education program currently serves 14 students with complex communication needs and severe physical impairments often associated with cerebral palsy who require the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems. Our service delivery model is an interdisciplinary educational team that includes a special education teacher, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, assistive technologist and several instructional assistants. For students diagnosed with CVI, a teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) typically serves as a consultant for the delivery of services and recommended interventions within our ongoing curriculum.

Research has shown myopia, cortical visual impairment (CVI), strabismus and gaze dysfunction co-occur in 70% of children who have severe physical impairments associated with cerebral palsy. Thirty percent of these children are diagnosed with CVI (Ghasia, Brunstrom, Gordon, & Tychsen, 2008) and it is the “fastest growing visual impairment diagnosis today” (American Printing House for the Blind, What is CVI?). At The Bridge School, approximately 50% of our students have received a diagnosis of cortical visual impairment.

In order to address the needs of our students, it was necessary for our staff to learn as much as possible about CVI, to determine how to integrate effective intervention strategies throughout the school day and to develop appropriate goals and objectives for inclusion in the students’ educational plan.

Each student at The Bridge School has unique needs to be addressed within the educational program including language, physical abilities, health and medications, environment and personal experiences. All of these elements have an influence on one another and make up our students’ profile as a whole. For those students diagnosed with CVI, addressing their vision needs becomes an important piece of the larger picture.

The Need for a CVI Assessment

While (CVI) identification begins as a medical issue, it becomes an educational issue….