Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My eyes are opened to the world of visual processing disorders

Our CCVI teacher came for the first time today (sorry, Children's Center for the Visually Impaired). She was wonderful! Her visit is going to change the way I interact with my child, what we do during the day, and how Olivia learns.

For a recap: Olivia's eye structure is fine. She is not blind. She has great vision. However, the seizures make the path for information from the eye to the brain very difficult. So, while she can physically see things the same way you and I do, her brain does not always tell her how to interpret that information quickly or correctly. In other words, she doesn't always understand what she is seeing. Often an object with noises and bright colors is too much to take in and Olivia will turn her head away because the object is too difficult to process. When she is ready again, she will look at the object and take in more of the information. Make sense?

Until now I think I have been continually under-educating and overstimulating my child. I assume because she cannot tell me what she wants that she does not know. That is not true. The teacher today taught us how to use hand signals (which I know, but did not think to use) to allow Olivia to tell us when she has had "too much" of something. We'll start with one signal. We also learned what kind of toys to present to her, and how to present them. Often a backdrop of either white or black and then one simple colored toy (preferably sparkly and orange, red, or yellow) in front of the backdrop. Often Olivia would sit and look at the toy, also follow it, but would not feel intrigued to touch it until after a minute or two had passed--however long it takes for her to realize what she is seeing. Interesting, right? I had been flashing toys in front of her thinking she didn't like them!
We also learned how to appropriately engage her hands in a way that is not obtrusive or invasive to her, to always talk to her, telling her what we are doing during the day including saying "left" and "right". I feel like a new person. I feel like I can give my child a better present and future. I feel empowered and educated.

Nevermind that we will spend all her waking hours getting in all of her therapy--its mostly play-like things anyway.

She also is working on crawling. She is very eager and I am excited to show our therapist (who is also coming today) how Olivia can almost hold her own weight on her hands and knees. This is a very exciting time for us.

We also should be picking up the pictures our friends took last week sometime this afternoon. We, of course, will be sharing some with you all.


  1. Hooray! I am so glad you have such wonderful therapists! There is no better feeling then learning how to best encourage and teach your child. We love our physical therapist, every week she brings us new tricks to try.

  2. Progress is a wonderful thing -- bit by bit, day by day. Your mom said you might be home in a couple of weeks -- I will be certain that I get to see you all. Love, Jane

    PS - thanks for all your updates -- they mean the world.

  3. How fun to hear your spirits lifted as you learn new techniques to help Livi learn. We can't wait to see how you all grow!!

    Dean & Nancy