International Support, Professional Service Pack and Virtual CVI Range Score Assessments

Over the last few weeks we have received many questions around the following topics. We hope that this post sheds some light on the areas of interest.

International Support

Unfortunately, during this initial phase of rollout, we are bound to the U.S. only.  In the very near future, we will be able to support international subscriptions.  For those that have reached out and inquired already, we will keep your name and contact information and let you know when CViConnect is available in your country.

Professional Service Pack

At this time, we are expecting the Professional Service Pack to be available sometime in the next 60-90 days.  We are still working through some technical issues, as well as finalizing the pricing model.  The Professional Service Pack will allow a single subscription to support multiple students.

We are keeping a record of all the TVIs and professionals who have inquired as we move closer to making the Professional Service Pack available.

Virtual CVI Range Score Assessment

A pre-requisite for use of the app is a CVI Range Score for your child. The CVI Range Score helps us identify which Activities bundle will be most appropriate for your child.  You can obtain this in many ways. Check out our prerequisites page to learn more. https://cviconnect.co/pricing/#pre

One of the options for obtaining a Score is to purchase a Virtual CVI Range Score assessment with Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy.  You can purchase this on the CViConnect website at the Additional Services section.

As the title implies, the assessment is done virtually using Facetime.  Once you have purchased the Assessment online, Dr. Roman-Lantzy will contact you directly, via email, to coordinate and schedule the Assessment.

Top 3 CVI Resources on Perkins School for the Blind CVI Hub

Perkins School for the Blind CVI Hub web page brings valuable CVI resources right to the fingertips of parents, educators and school districts. The CVI Hub is a great place to start if you’re looking for resources for your CVI journey. Below is our list of the top three resources for parents of children with CVI.

1. CVI 101: Educating Children with CVI

CVI 101 is a great place to start while you are gathering useful information about CVI. With Perkins, you know that the information is accurate and trustworthy. The overview of CVI they give is both understandable and descriptive. As you read on, you are presented with a video by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, where she covers Cortical Visual Impairment and the Evaluation of Functional vision. Next, you will read about the CVI Range, and what role it plays with individuals with CVI. All in all, we believe this is a very useful CVI resource.

2. CVI Videos

Sometimes a video is the best way to package useful tips and techniques. On this page of the Perkins – School for the Blind, you are presented with a wonderful video library full of video presentations. Many topics are covered, including:

3. About Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy

Lastly, we highly recommend reviewing this highlight of Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, who is arguably the leading researcher and thought leader in the field of Cortical Visual Impairment and referenced many times on Perkins School for the Blind CVI Hub. Dr. Roman-Lantzy has been instrumental in building CViConnect. Her techniques and evaluations influence how CViConnect is designed – from activities that are presented to Virtual CVI Range Score Assessments.

Leave Review for CViConnect Here

Hi there,

If you would like to tell others how much you like CViConnect, you’re in luck, as there are plenty of places to do just that. Below you will find a list of places where you can leave reviews, comments and details regarding CViConnect and how it has benefited you and your family.

iPad App Store
Locate the CViConnect app in the App Store. You can easily rate and review the app here on the Reviews tab.

Facebook
Facebook makes it very easy to rate and review products. Find the CViConnect Facebook page and click on Reviews to tell people your experience.

YouTube
CViConnect posts videos about the company, the iPad app and other updates. After watching any of our videos, feel free to Like the video(s) and Subscribe to the channel.

Email
Sometimes an email is the easiest way to give feedback. You can always send our President, Steve Hendrix, a note and let him know how you feel about CViConnect.

Look Detection vs. Video Conferencing

Dear CViConnect User Community,

From time to time, we will be communicating directly with the CViConnect User Community to deliver specific, hopefully helpful, information.  This is one of those communications.

We have had a number of questions regarding the look detection capability of CViConnect as well as the ability to record a video and upload it to the CViConnect team. Automatically captured data can be augmented through look detection and video recording.

When an Activity is run, information about the execution of the Activity is collected, such as how long the activity was run, when it was started and stopped, the places where the child touched the screen, etc.

With look detection, the system watches for the child’s eyes to be focused on the iPad.  The time when focus was detected is then cross referenced with what was on the display at the time of the look, giving us information about what the child has ‘seen’ in the Activity.

Video recording simply captures the video of a child using an Activity, much like using a video camera.  The recording is captured and then passed back up to the care team for review.

Video recording and look detection cannot be done at the same time.  Look detection uses Apple’s facial feature detection functionality to find the child’s eyes and to determine if they are open.  Facial feature detection is disabled by Apple during a video recording.

Finally, the facial feature detector is by no means perfect.  It sometimes struggles to locate a child’s eyes if the room is poorly lit or if the eyes are particularly challenging to locate.

At CViConnect, we continue to look at the technology available to improve the experience for you and your child.   Thank you for your continued support of CViConnect.

Sincerely,
The CViConnect Team

What To Do After a CVI Diagnosis

Has your child just been diagnosed with cortical visual impairment (CVI)? You may be experiencing a wide range of emotions. This can be a very confusing and frustrating situation for you. You are not alone, as many parents have received a similar diagnosis. Note that there are many options and resources available to you. Here are 5 important things to do after your child has been diagnosed with CVI.

1. Breathe

Everything is going to be okay.

With a consistent and structured program, CVI can significantly improve over time. In a select group of children with CVI who had highly motivated parents, 97% went from Phase I to Phase III in an average of 3.7 years, according to a study conducted by Dr. Roman-Lantzy.

More personally, know that there is a vibrant and supportive community available to you. You are not the only one going through this – far from it, in fact. CVI is the current leading cause of visual impairment among children. Other parents and family have previously been in your position and are happy to answer any questions you may have. There is a particularly active group within Facebook. CViConnect previously published an article about the top 8 CVI Facebook pages to follow. Within these pages, you can see questions, comments, stories, and supportive ideas from other families that are going through the journey you have just begun.

2. Learn As Much As You Can About CVI

It is important to take the time needed to understand what this diagnosis means. Learn about the various intervention programs and methodologies available to you. Read about what your child may be experiencing in order to better understand how intervention works. It will take time and patience, but you will be better served in the end.

Although CVI is still under-studied, there are a lot of quality books and professional publications to learn from. A book we recommend is Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention by Christine Roman-Lantzy. Dr. Roman-Lantzy provides readers with both a conceptual framework with which to understand working with CVI and concrete strategies to apply directly in their work.

There are numerous resources available online as well. Our article about the top 5 CVI resources you may not know about outlines a handful of great online resources you can turn to for general information, intervention ideas, and community support.

3. Find a Vision Specialist

A vision specialist that practices CVI intervention can be an invaluable resource. Regularly scheduled visits with a professional can help to answer questions, provide important information, continue education, and define intervention ideas. One can be found through your school system, your local government programs, or this page put together by Perkins School for the Blind.

4. Have Your Child Evaluated

Evaluation is the first step in beginning to treat your child. This will help to determine where he or she falls in the CVI spectrum. Different children have varying degrees of CVI and, with that, varying levels of sight. The evaluation will determine the current abilities of your child and how you can proceed. There are several ways to have your child evaluated, most of which are outlined by the American Printing House for the Blind.

The diagnostic test that is most often used is the CVI Range Score. The CVI Range Score allows for the vision of your child to be measured in a consistent and reliable way. It has been carefully studied and found to be a stable instrument to determine the functional level of vision of your child. It is used to determine the degree of effect of CVI on a zero to ten scale. Professionals can then use that number (CVI Range Score) to design an intervention program.

5. Begin an Intervention Program

Intervention in this context means beginning the process and working with a CVI specialist on activities for your child. After meeting with your vision specialist and having your child evaluated, you will be in a great position to lay the groundwork for your intervention program. Depending on the level of vision of your child, you will begin to schedule various visual activities to exercise the neural pathway between your child’s eyes and brain. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind during these exercises:

  • You should incorporate opportunities to use vision into your child’s everyday life. Color and motion will be important for his or her visual development. For example, you might use a red bowl or plate for each meal.
  • In order to maximize your child’s ability to use vision, it is important to provide spaces that are free of distractions and visual clutter.

CViConnect is a new and exciting program that incorporates personalized education, training, and support for children with Cortical Visual Impairment. CViConnect includes an active community that offers hope and confidence. Using cutting-edge technology and a proven curriculum via an iPad app, CViConnect helps to improve the eyesight of children with cortical visual impairment.

A cortical visual impairment diagnosis can bring about trying and confusing times. But know that you are going to be just fine. As with many other diagnoses, CVI can be improved with patience, time, and effort. With these five tips, you will be well on your way to that improvement for your child.

Tools for CVI Assessment – American Printing House for the Blind

A CVI assessment is generally “step one” in discovering the current sight abilities of your child. The assessment then molds the teaching program and techniques that will help to improve his/her vision.

There are several different methods to go about completing such an assessment. The American Printing House for the Blind provides assessment tools and guidelines for a number of assessment techniques, including those from Dr. Gordon Dutton, Dr. Amanda Lueck, Dr. Mary T. Morse, Dr. Jan van Dijk, and CViConnect’s lead advisor Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy. It is on Dr. Roman-Lantzy’s assessment guidelines and instruction that CViConnect has built our program. Here are some helpful tips and guidelines from American Printing House for the Blind for your information when having your child assessed for a CVI range score.

American Printing House for the Blind does an excellent job of laying out Guidelines for Observation and Guidelines for Interview Questions. These methods will be used by a CVI professional to determine the abilities and limitations of your child. Knowing this information beforehand and reading the interview questions is a great preparatory exercise to ensure you get the most accurate assessment possible.

This will undoubtedly be a confusing and possibly frustrating time for you and your child. There are several things you can do, as laid out by APH, in order to ease and accommodate the child, as well as provide the most accurate assessment.

  • Be understanding when the child’s behavior is a reaction to frustration or fear and misunderstanding of the environment
  • Avoid conversations when child is using their vision to travel safely
  • Family, teachers, friends should verbally identify themselves when meeting the child
  • Faces are very complex. Do not expect a child to be able to look at you and hear what you are saying at the same time. Do not take lack of eye contact personally

With excellent tips, products, and general information, American Printing House for the Blind is a great resource for working with your CVI child. Be sure to review their entire section on cortical visual impairment. If you would like to receive information on CVI, subscribe to our newsletter.

Meet APH: American Printing House for the Blind

When navigating life with a challenge like blindness, it is comforting to know there are organizations that provide valuable resources that can help. American Printing House For The Blind (APH) is one such organization, providing resources and support to sight-impaired individuals.

For over 150 years, APH has proudly served the blind and visually impaired community by creating educational and functionalAmerican Printing House for the Blind living products for those that suffer from visual impairment. It is now the largest non-profit organization in the world that serves this community.

Tracing its roots back to 1858, APH was founded when it first saw a need to assist blind students. After the opening of the first schools for blind children in the 1830’s, it was clear that teachers had precious few books and educational resources. Funds were raised and locations discussed. Finally, in 1858, the General Assembly of Kentucky passed an Act to establish The American Printing House For The Blind. In 1860, a press was purchased, and, after disruption by the Civil War, the first book was produced by APH in 1866.

Since then, APH has worked tirelessly to provide products to the blind and visually impaired community. In 1879, under the Federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH became the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students. The funding for this Act benefitting blind and visually impaired students continues today through the Federal Quota Program. Funds from each state are used to purchase educational materials for blind and visually impaired students.

As both a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a manufacturing company, American Printing House for the Blind serves a unique and important public role, but is also able to manufacture and offer incredible products to the individual consumer. Browsing their shop shows an array of:

  • Braille textbooks, magazines, custom braille
  • Large print textbooks, custom large print
  • Talking Books on a contract basis
  • Accessible tests
  • Educational kits, tools, and supplies
  • Talking software and hardware
  • Independent living products such as talking color identifiers

APH and CVI

American Printing House for the Blind is a leading resource for the Cortical Visual Impairment community. APH understands the importance of education for CVI.

“Those working with children diagnosed (and many who remain undiagnosed)  with CVI understand that the more we learn about this neurological visual impairment the more complicated the conversation becomes.”

To this end, they have numerous educational resources and posts on their website http://tech.aph.org/cvi/.

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy notes that CVI “is the leading cause of visual impairment in children today”.  At CViConnect, we are happy to see the commitment from APH to the CVI community. Please visit http://www.aph.org/ to see their vast educational resources and products that support the blind and visually impaired community.

Top 5 CVI Resources You May Not Know About

There is a wealth of information on the internet providing education, instruction, and direction on how to help your child with Cortical Visual Impairment. With so many different options, it may be difficult to narrow down a few specific resources to consistently follow for the best information. Here is a list of 5 of the top CVI-related resources that you might not know about:

– West Virginia Department of Education: Cortical Visual Impairment

The West Virginia Department of Education has an excellent Special Education section that outlines their curriculum as well as a wealth of instructional resources. In particular, their Special Topic section on Cortical Visual Impairment provides outstanding direction and instruction on CVI through a series of videos made by Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D.

– CViConnect

CViConnect is a combination of technology, data, and community that strives to improve the vision of children with CVI. CViConnect developed a smart technology, iPad-based app that, using the camera technology in the iPad, tracks visual queues in the child’s eyes as various images and animations are presented. This data is collected and translated into a personal program directed by teachers of the visually impaired at LifeScience Technologies. The entire program is modeled and developed by the work of Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, a leader in furthering understanding, assessment, and intervention strategies for Cortical Visual Impairment.

– CVI Teacher

CVI Teacher is a blog created and run by a teacher of students with Cortical Visual Impairment. The teacher works for the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative. CVI Teacher is an excellent combination of educational posts, interesting videos, CVI news, and great DIY ideas.

– Perkins School for the Blind

Perkins School for the Blind is an organization, operated by proven experts, that has dedicated its efforts to the lives of blind and deafblind people all over the world. Their institution offers a quality section on Cortical Visual Impairment that includes webinars and inspirational and educational articles.

– Family Connect

FamilyConnect is a website and community created by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). It offers a place of support for families with visually impaired children that includes a community to discuss CVI related issues, share stories about their families and treatment ideas, and contribute CVI-related resources.

As the fastest growing visual impairment diagnosed today, Cortical Visual Impairment treatment is constantly making new strides. Make sure to subscribe for updates to the CViConnect blog for the newest and most important items in educational information, instruction, and new developments on everything CVI related.

The CViConnect Support Community is Here to Help

All parents strive to provide, as best they can, for their child. Parents of children that have Cortical Visual Impairment have even more on their plate. Just know that you are not alone. Along with your subscription to CViConnect, you are invited to participate in a vibrant online support community of other teachers, parents, and families of children with Cortical Visual Impairment.

This community provides answers to CViConnect program-related questions and guidance, but also offers a supportive place to:

  • Discuss CVI related concerns
  • Share stories
  • Offer links to CVI resources
  • Discuss treatment advice
  • Connect with others on message boards – you can join in on any of the discussions or start a new topic of your own

This online community is available for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Topics and comments will be monitored by a trained CViConnect Support Professional. This allows for additional input and instruction to an already active and supportive group.

Your privacy is very important to CViConnect. Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions of use for both the community and application.

The Future of CVI – Why CViConnect is Excited About Recent Advances

It is heartening when a challenge is solved with a solution that just makes sense. If you are a parent that has a child with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), you understand the challenges related to that diagnosis very acutely.

How could you not? But while the healthcare system in the United States can be frustrating for families with uncommon diagnoses, there is a silver lining. That system creates opportunities for innovative businesses to fill the gap by creating amazing solutions that solve real problems.

CViConnect is one of those solutions. This state-of-the-art ipad app is a new and powerful tool to assist children with CVI. Its intelligent software captures data behind the scenes to allow CViConnect Support Professionals to enrich the experience of the ipad app by creating additional activities. CViConnect also has created an active forum where users of the app can get their questions answered and discuss ideas in a community setting.

What makes the CViConnect iPad app different? If you’re a CVI parent, or someone who has worked with CVI patients, you may have seen other apps targeting CVI. The apps aim to assist individuals with CVI by showing visual queues, working to stimulate the areas of the brain that control visual processing and the visual pathways of the brain.

But the CViConnect iPad app is different.CViConnect Activity Screenshot

First, the CViConnect app is smart. It reacts to the experience of the user, stores the data about how a user responds to a particular activity and then presents that data back to the parent or TVI. Capturing this data allows parents and TVIs to create follow-on activities based on how the user responds.

Second, not all users are the same, so there has to be something that allows the technology to make sure they are presented exercises that are good fit for them. The CVI Range Score, developed by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, is what allows users of the CViConnect iPad app to have an experience that is tailored to them. Pretty neat.

One of the hot topics in technology is something called “big data.” It is a nebulous term, but essentially it means that all software being built is creating a huge amount of data. This begs the question, “What can we do with all this data to help improve processes?”

The CViConnect app is not just displaying visual targets to users. By using the camera on the iPad, the app is “observing” and recording a number of things:

  • when an individual is looking at the screen
  • how long they are looking at the screen
  • if they touch the screen
  • and much more.

By capturing all that data, CViConnect can use it to help TVIs both refine future activity sets, while also enhancing the functionality of the app itself. The more usage of the app, the more “big data” is available and the more refinements can be made. CViConnect is very excited about leveraging these cutting edge tactics to enhance our technology and help individuals with CVI improve their eyesight.

The CViConnect Forum

But, CViConnect wants your help to make the technology even better.

The CViConnect forum is available for CViConnect app users to discuss ideas, ask questions and just talk to other individuals affected by CVI. There’s a good chance that if you have a question about the app, someone else has either already asked that question or will ask it in the future. The forum also allows you to ask questions that will be answered by CViConnect staff. The dialog around your question is then logged in the forum and made available for the next person who has that question.

CViConnect knows there are many groups of people who care deeply about CVI and those affected by it.  The CViConnect Forum is an ideal place to discuss ideas and ask questions with other CVI-minded individuals – parents, teachers, professionals and CViConnect staff. If you or a family member is involved with CVI or has a CVI child, please spread the word (click here to share the forum to Facebook) and help make the CViConnect Forum the comprehensive hub for all CVI related conversations. CViConnect is committed to making it your community.

CViConnect Blog

CViConnect will not just work to continually enhance its technology; it will also provide consistent, valuable content to the CVI Connect community. The CViConnect blog contains the latest CVI news, recent updates to the iPad app, and CVI events across the country. There is also app-specific content posted to our blog – things like tutorials, getting started guides and new feature updates. The blog will also share any other important information that is valuable to the CViConnect community. Finally, CViConnect sends out a monthly newsletter with the latest articles and CViConnect news. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and get great content sent straight to your inbox.

CViConnect is focused on the opportunity to positively affect the lives of individuals with CVI. It has an amazing team that works hard everyday to provide the best technology and service possible.

CViConnect sees a world where CVI patients have better tools at their disposal, where the CVI community is more connected, and where families and professionals have great information available to make better decisions in their journey with CVI.

CViConnect invites you to join with us and help improve the lives of those affected by CVI.