The Bridge School

Cortical Visual Impairment

Social Studies

For Social Studies, CVI interventions provide opportunities for students to learn specific descriptive vocabulary while allowing them access to larger concepts through real life learning activities. Giving students with CVI opportunities to use their vision while teaching them how to discuss what they see supports their overall communication goals.

Learning About Maps

Learning About Maps is a lesson that supports students learning landmarks in a large environment. At The Bridge School, students pass under a rainbow when entering the school from the playground. Most of our students with CVI were unfamiliar with the rainbow because they were unable to reference it with their vision. Many had restricted upper visual fields and were unable to attend to moderately complex visual arrays. The following considerations were addressed when planning this lesson:

  • Complexity of an outside environment would be addressed by first teaching a landmark in isolation and slowly increasing the complexity of the background.
  • Reduced complexity photos would be presented on a light box and salient features would be taught in the landmark providing instruction in learning new and novel visual detail.
  • Distance viewing would be supported using movement to attract and direct student’s attention to upper visual fields.

This is a picture of the rainbow at our school.

First a picture of the landmark was taken. The arch and colors of the rainbow were taught on a lightbox and salient features were isolated on a black background. Students were directed to find the red half circle.

Students were directed to find the yellow half circle.

Lastly, students were directed to find the blue half circle.

Next, the complexity within the photo increased and was taught on a light box. Students learned to identify the doors of the classrooms, the roof, the poles, the sky and the trees within the pictures.

Close up of the image presented on the light box.  

Finally, students went outside to find the actual landmark. Using movement to attract their attention upwards, a teacher used a bright traffic cone to hit the rainbow. The students saw the cone and saw the rainbow move slightly as it was hit with the cone.

AAC supports for this lesson also incorporate CVI considerations.

Backlighting from devices helps draw visual attention and complexity of arrays has been reduced. Having had the opportunity to visually reference vocabulary used on their communication boards increases discourse and supports comprehension.