Sparking the light in Archer life! 4/1/2015
Day one on my journey of sharing Archer's story. Here we go, so much to share, as if I need just yet another daily task, but today I share the light that Archer needs in his life. His eyes work perfectly fine, it is his brain that is not "seeing." This impairment is called CVI - Cortical Visual Impairment. That means his impairment involves his brain - not the structure of the eye. CVI is not about acuity, it is about recognition - about recognizing or making sense of what he sees. This is why we need to literally provide light in his life. Lights activate the brain's visual cortex. For the brain to have the best opportunity to see, another factor to consider is the complexity of array. For example, cluttered backgrounds, create a hard concept for him to visually via the brain interpret. He has a hard time identifying finer detail and boundaries of objects when not spaced apart and presented on a plain contrasting background. Think about it, if you were unable to see finer details would you find a red checker that was placed on the red square of the board? Motion helps Archer see, he likes to move, bounce, stroll, ride in his scooter, and be pushed around in his stander. If he isn't moving and something else is, this benefits his visual recognition, even more if it is metallic and moves and presented in his stronger visual quadrants! Archer has a few a pinwheels around the house to help identify where he is, such a great marker for him to find and focus on. It helps to give him time to find and focus, especially if marked with a favorite color (red/green) when we have latency he does find objects! We use to call it 'peaks' when we would get a focus for a milla second from him. Now those peaks are turning into longer pauses and he is focusing on objects and recognize our face! Lately he is recognizes more environments or transitions in the day, as we get better at adapting his environments the more opportunities he has to develop and use his vision. He gets so excited when he comprehends and makes the visual connection. The research out there reports that CVI is a 4.7 year learning curve, and this is when the individual has isolated CVI, our little bug has multiple brain malformations. The good thing about CVI is that for one it is not a blindness, it is a visual impairment, the brain is an amazing organ that can find new pathways. It is our journey as parents to learn, grow, and develop alongside of Archer.