The CVI practice framework : an effective approach to supporting children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at Massey University, Manawatū, Aotearoa New Zealand

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McDowell, Nicola
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Massey University
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Cerebral visual impairment (CVI) is the most common cause of visual impairment affecting children in the economically developed world, with the prediction that numbers will continue to rise with continued advancements in medical care for neonates. Despite this increase, many children are still being supported with approaches that have been developed for children with ocular visual impairments, as there are limited evidence-based approaches for supporting children with CVI. This thesis by publication therefore proposed a CVI practice framework to help meet the specific needs of children with CVI that can be used within an education or habilitation/rehabilitation context. The framework was based on the researcher’s own experience of developing a successful rehabilitation programme to improve her visual and overall functioning following a late CVI diagnosis. From this programme, the researcher identified three main components that led to the improvements in her quality of life. These included the development of an individual CVI profile, an individualised programme, and empowerment through the attainment of knowledge. To ascertain whether a similar approach could be effective for children with CVI, the researcher conducted a number of different research projects to assess the effectiveness of each individual component and the overall framework. Results from the different research projects show that, firstly, the Austin Playing Card Assessment has the potential to be an effective tool to detect visual perceptual difficulties related to clutter and can be used as part of a wider assessment process to develop a child’s CVI profile. Secondly, there are a number of generic strategies that can be implemented within a child’s programme to support their visual, emotional and behavioural needs. Thirdly, information at the time of a child’s diagnosis helps to empower parents and leads to them being more involved in the services their child receives. Finally, the CVI practice framework has the potential to be an effective approach for supporting children with CVI. Further research on the three components of the framework and the overall framework is needed to corroborate these findings.
Children with visual disabilities, Rehabilitation, Education