Toddler Boy Playing With A Digital Tablet

Consider Novelty when Utilizing Technology

According to Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, there are ten unique visual and behavioral characteristics of CVI. One of these is the characteristic of novelty, or how new a visual target is to the learner.

Learners with CVI show preference to targets they are familiar with or those that share visually familiar characteristics.  Depending on what Phase of CVI the learner is in, your accommodations to support this characteristic will likely vary greatly.   

One difficult, but huge progression is when learners with CVI can move from three dimensional visual targets to two dimensional targets. We are told to utilize realistic photographs of these familiar targets.  Unfortunately, for some of our learners, it isn’t as easy as taking a picture with our phones.  You must still consider the needs of other characteristics. Complexity of the array?; What is behind the target? Distance? How far away did you take the picture? 

I have found a few ways to take and edit images for my learners.  The first thing I try is a Google Image search with ‘PNG.’  PNG is an image file type like jpeg or bmp. PNG files are important to us because they have transparent backgrounds.  This means the image should already be clear of any competing visual stimuli in the background of your target.

If I want the visual target to be my student’s blue spoon. I might search for ‘blue children’s spoon png.’ 

CVI Biog Blue Spoons

Once I find the target that meets my needs, I left-click on the image.  This selects the image and opens it into a window on the side of my screen.  Next, I right-click and either select ‘Save Image As’ to save to my device or ‘Copy Image’ and paste the image directly to my project.

CVI Blog Saving Blue Spoon Image

If I cannot find the image I want doing this search, I might take a picture of the real item. To do this, try to place the image on a solid colored background.  Often, we will see people using black as the background.  Black is light absorbing allowing the target to typically stand out more.

If I find a realistic photograph I like, or one I have taken on my own, there are a few options to remove the background.  One of my favorites is  This website allows users to upload any image from their device (computer, tablet, etc.)  The website will automatically identify the focus of the image and remove any background information.

Remove BG website

Lastly, there are a few places you can manually remove the background or unnecessary information from your image.  One option on a tablet or phone is to use a background eraser app. There are several available in the app store.  Also, PowerPoint has a Remove Background option.  Once you click ‘Remove Background’, the image will show the background that will be removed in bright pink.  Users can further edit the image; add more areas to remove or mark areas to keep.

Are you using other resources to remove the backgrounds of images and support your learners?  What else can we be doing to support our learner’s needs for complexity of the array and novelty?

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