Wednesday, 2 February 2011

"THE ENVIRONMENT IS EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T ME" - ALBERT EINSTEIN

A child with CVI in particular needs a predictable environment and routine. Try to keep your child's environment  as stable as possible. You may have found that it affects them adversely when you move them to somewhere new. If you move a young person out of their familiar place it can be very disconcerting and anxiety levels sometimes run high. I have seen this very thing happen. A young man I work with suffered considerable disruption to his routine, when he was moved into a new class. Virtually immediately he became aggressive and moody. The solution decided by the team around the child was to place him in a small classroom with less challenging peers and adults that he had known for years. He immediately settled back into his comfort zone. Changes to the environment can have a major impact on children with CVI. A child who is  happy at home can become a different person when taken outside into a busy shopping area. It is an unfamiliar location and you cannot control it. The effects on the child are quite significant and  not easy to predict.


Consider the environment your child spends most of their time in. What is it like? Is it busy, colourful and stimulating? Or is it a place where you have taken on board the advice of the teacher for visual impairment and made some adjustments? What kinds of adjustments are we thinking of? Remember if our goal is to maximise the child’s attention then anything that detracts from that needs to go. What I usually say to parents and teachers is that everything in the environment needs to be thought through. The walls of the home are often covered with pictures and sometimes with patterned wallpaper. Ideally walls should be plain (possibly with blocks of colour to help the child orientate themselves). It should be matt paint so there is no reflection. And so on... Never underestimate the influence of a child's environment and especially a CVI child.

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