Little Bear Sees http://www.littlebearsees.org Helping children with cortical visual impairment (CVI) learn to see Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:38:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Black Friday 99c deal on Tap-n-See Now! http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/11/26/black-friday-99c-deal-tap-n-see-now/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/11/26/black-friday-99c-deal-tap-n-see-now/#respond Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:29:09 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=1135 Tap-n-See Now just got a major upgrade! To celebrate, we’ll be offering it for $0.99 all day on Black Friday! (normally $2.99) For more information on Tap-n-See Now 2.0 please visit our app information page. To buy the app, click here to go to iTunes.

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Tap-n-See Now Select ScreenTap-n-See Now just got a major upgrade! To celebrate, we’ll be offering it for $0.99 all day on Black Friday! (normally $2.99)

For more information on Tap-n-See Now 2.0 please visit our app information page.

To buy the app, click here to go to iTunes.

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True or False: The Vision of a Child with CVI Changes Constantly http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/08/18/true-false-vision-child-cvi-changes-constantly/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/08/18/true-false-vision-child-cvi-changes-constantly/#respond Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:33:17 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=1002 There are many misconceptions surrounding cortical visual impairment (CVI). One of these is the idea that the vision of a child with CVI is constantly changing.

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Looking awayThere are many misconceptions surrounding cortical visual impairment (CVI). One of these, that we encounter frequently, is the idea that the vision of a child with CVI is constantly changing.

We have read on many well-meaning websites that from day to day or even hour to hour or minute to minute, the vision of someone with CVI fluctuates wildly. This is NOT true. Yet it’s easy to understand why this myth is so common. A child with CVI may appear to see an object very well on one occasion and hardly at all the next.

But if it’s not the child’s vision that changes, what is it?

Dr. Roman-Lantzy reminds us that if a child’s vision has appeared to change, we must look for causes outside of the child. Some external factor is making it harder for the child to use his vision. Perhaps the environment has changed. For example, an environment with lots of noise or other competing sensory input can easily distract a child with CVI from using his vision. Being tired, hungry, not feeling well or otherwise distracted can also complicate the child’s ability to use her vision.

This does not mean the child’s vision has changed, but that something outside of the child has changed and made it harder for her to use her vision.

This is actually an incredibly important distinction. It places the responsibility squarely on us instead of the child.

So, if a child appears to be having a harder time using her vision, ask yourself what YOU can do to help. What environmental changes can you make to help him use the vision he has? It can be useful to review the common characteristics of CVI to understand more about adaptations that can help.

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Making our Backyard More CVI Friendly http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/08/08/making-our-backyard-more-cvi-friendly/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/08/08/making-our-backyard-more-cvi-friendly/#respond Fri, 08 Aug 2014 19:26:21 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=976 We’ve spent a lot of time this summer adapting our backyard to make it more interesting to our Little Bear with cortical visual impairment (CVI). After posting about it on Facebook and chatting with our fans, we’ve come up with a list of great ideas you can try! 1. Provide plenty of shade Many kids […]

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We’ve spent a lot of time this summer adapting our backyard to make it more interesting to our Little Bear with cortical visual impairment (CVI). After posting about it on Facebook and chatting with our fans, we’ve come up with a list of great ideas you can try!

1. Provide plenty of shade
Many kids with CVI are sensitive to bright lights. Little Bear is no exception. We’re lucky to have a lot of shade trees in our yard. We’ve heard from other families who have suggested building shade structures above swing sets or other play equipment. We also put sunglasses on Little Bear if we can’t find shade. We love the Julbo brand of sunglasses for kids.

2. Add some color and movement
He loves it!We are always looking for ways to take advantage of Little Bear’s visual preferences. Since he loves movement, color and shine, like many kids with cortical visual impairment, we knew this red mylar windsock would be perfect to hang from a tree!

3. Find accessible and visually friendly activities
Little Bear with his water toy!Lukas’ little sister adores playing with her water table. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for Lukas to join the fun in his wheelchair. Even if he can put his hands in the water, he has a hard time seeing anything in the lower visual field, which means it’s not a visually stimulating activity. Luckily, we found a great solution to this problem at Enabling Devices! A switch-adapted water toy that we can put on his wheelchair! It raises the water higher into his visual field and adds an element of movement and shine. Perfect!

4. Make playground equipment accessible
Yellow mylar on stepsMobile children may need other kinds of adaptations in order to make use of backyard play structures. A friend mentioned how she adapted the steps up to her kids’ slide to make them accessible to her daughter with CVI. Adding some yellow mylar paper to each step made it much easier for her daughter to see and navigate the stairs.

What ways have you come up with to make your backyard CVI friendly? Share them with us below or share on Facebook!

You can find many more ideas for adapting the environment for kids with cortical visual impairment on our CVI Tips & Ideas page.

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Is Black and White Best for Kids with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)? http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/07/16/is-black-and-white-best-for-kids-with-cortical-visual-impairment-cvi/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/07/16/is-black-and-white-best-for-kids-with-cortical-visual-impairment-cvi/#respond Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:50:50 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=875 In a recent contest we held on Facebook, we asked our fans to answer the following question: What do children with cortical visual impairment see best? Here are the results:   20% of our participants answered that black and white images are best. In fact, we very often come across the notion that using black and […]

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Black & White for CVI?In a recent contest we held on Facebook, we asked our fans to answer the following question: What do children with cortical visual impairment see best?

Here are the results:

Contest Pie Chart

 

20% of our participants answered that black and white images are best. In fact, we very often come across the notion that using black and white books, toys and pictures is best for kids with cortical visual impairment (CVI). This is NOT true! It is a very common and troubling misconception as many parents are told by well-meaning doctors and therapists to use a lot of black and white with their children with CVI.

While some children with CVI may respond to black and white over time, it will always be MUCH easier for them to see color. Color, especially highly saturated color, is incredibly important for children with CVI because color vision is usually preserved. The parts of the brain that are used to look at color are located deep in the brain on both sides, making those areas harder to damage. Red and yellow are very often the first colors that a child with CVI will see, though we know many children who prefer bright orange, green, blue or other highly saturated colors. Remember that the goal in CVI interventions is to provide the child with many opportunities to use the vision that she has. Unlike physical therapy, for example, the idea is not to challenge the child beyond her current abilities, but to give her frequent chances to use her vision, which will then allow it to grow and expand on its own. For many children with CVI, black and white is simply too difficult.

Even though 21% of participants got the answer wrong, we are THRILLED that 79% got it right! Help us keep educating and spreading the word!

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Announcing our Third iPad Grant Recipient http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/06/27/our-third-little-bear-gives-ipad-grant/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/06/27/our-third-little-bear-gives-ipad-grant/#respond Fri, 27 Jun 2014 18:26:16 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=832 Our most recent iPad Grant for children with cortical visual impairment (CVI) took place in May of this year. We were thrilled to award the package to Allan and his family. Allan received: A 16GB iPad with Retina Display, a copy of our CVI-specific app: Tap-n-See Now, and a copy of our book about CVI: […]

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Little Bear Gives - iPad Grant

Our most recent iPad Grant for children with cortical visual impairment (CVI) took place in May of this year. We were thrilled to award the package to Allan and his family.

Allan received:
A 16GB iPad with Retina Display, a copy of our CVI-specific app: Tap-n-See Now, and a copy of our book about CVI: Little Bear Sees: How Children with Cortical Visual Impairment Can Learn to See.

From his mother:

Allan’s story began as a 23 week preemie. They began watching his eyes at two months for Retinopathy of Prematurity. We soon learned that he had the worst form (Rush Disease) and to save his vision he needed immediate surgery. Surgery went well and we believed we were out of the woods. By nine months old I had noticed he wasn’t really looking at us or reaching for anything so the eye doctor came to us with a diagnosis; cortical blindness. We were devastated, among all his disabilities we now had blindness. We didn’t do any research on it since he was finally being released from the hospital to go home.

The new chapter began when we got home. We were put in contact with Early Intervention services and they quickly brought in the ND School for the Blind. We then began services with them and started becoming educated on CVI. Hope had been restored to us that Allan could see. Through years of work, some of the issues of CVI are resolved or further along the road of resolving. Complexity of things is still a big issue as well as some harder to resolve characteristics of CVI. We continue to work with him and our hopes with this iPad is that it will open more doors visually and communicatively as well as improving his life overall.

Allan’s story is another example of a family who refused to believe a diagnosis of cortical blindness. They have seen great improvements! We hope this iPad package will help him continue to improve his vision.

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Aquariums: A fun birthday activity for kids with CVI! http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/06/26/aquariums-a-fun-birthday-activity-for-kids-with-cvi/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/06/26/aquariums-a-fun-birthday-activity-for-kids-with-cvi/#respond Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:10:31 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=823 Lukas recently turned 4 (Happy Birthday!) and it seems we have a new birthday tradition for our Little Bear! In a past article we discussed the appeal of aquariums to kids with cortical visual impairment (CVI). At the time, we were limited to the lovely, but small, Waikiki Aquarium as we were living in Honolulu. […]

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lukas-aquariumLukas recently turned 4 (Happy Birthday!) and it seems we have a new birthday tradition for our Little Bear!

In a past article we discussed the appeal of aquariums to kids with cortical visual impairment (CVI). At the time, we were limited to the lovely, but small, Waikiki Aquarium as we were living in Honolulu.

Lukas at the aquariumNow that we’ve relocated to California, however, Lukas has discovered the wonder that is the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Their jellyfish tanks in particular are simply stunning and PERFECT for Lukas! The visual simplicity, movement, light and bright colors all lend themselves to creating the ideal environment for kids with CVI.

We’ve made the trek down there the last two years to celebrate his birthday and I suspect we will for many years to come. Nothing like seeing a smile on your child’s face as he actually looks at something!

We’d love to hear about some of your favorite aquariums.

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Announcing Our Third iPad Grant Cycle http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/04/11/announcing-our-third-ipad-grant-cycle/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/04/11/announcing-our-third-ipad-grant-cycle/#respond Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:03:17 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=772 It’s been a long time in the making, but Little Bear Gives is excited to announce that our third CVI iPad package grant will take place in April of this year! The package includes: An iPad (current generation) A copy of our CVI-specific app: Tap-n-See Now*! A copy of our book about CVI: Little Bear […]

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It’s been a long time in the making, but Little Bear Gives is excited to announce that our third CVI iPad package grant will take place in April of this year!

The package includes:

* You must have an iTunes account in order to receive the app.

Read more about it on our Little Bear Gives page.

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The Myth of Cortical Blindness http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/04/09/the-myth-of-cortical-blindness/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/04/09/the-myth-of-cortical-blindness/#respond Wed, 09 Apr 2014 18:21:13 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=762 Over and over again, we hear stories about kids being diagnosed with cortical blindness. Unfortunately, parents don’t always know any different and, having been told their child is blind, they give up on finding ways to help improve vision! According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, “Cortical blindness is an older term […]

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Over and over again, we hear stories about kids being diagnosed with cortical blindness. Unfortunately, parents don’t always know any different and, having been told their child is blind, they give up on finding ways to help improve vision! According to the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, “Cortical blindness is an older term for CVI. The term “blindness” can be misleading. Children with CVI usually have some level of vision that  may show some improvement over time.”

What we know now, is that the brain is plastic and, with proper intervention, we can help our children’s brains reorganize and learn to see! In our book, Little Bear Sees, Dr. Roman-Lantzy states, “The brain compensates for damage by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. But, in order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity.” Children with CVI are NOT blind. With activities that build on the vision they do have, we can help their brains make new connections and help their vision improve! For some ideas on how to get started, check out our page: What To Do 

We are dedicated to making sure that children with CVI get the help they need. Help us out, spread the word, and let’s eliminate the term “cortical blindness”!

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Best Books for Kids with CVI http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/03/05/best-books-for-kids-with-cvi/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2014/03/05/best-books-for-kids-with-cvi/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:39:35 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=748 Books can be difficult for kids with CVI. Two dimensional materials are always harder and they are often too visually busy. We’ve found some great ones that Little Bear loves, though! Here are some favorites that are visually simple and include highly saturated colors: So Big! (Honestly, can you ever go wrong with Elmo?) That’s […]

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Books can be difficult for kids with CVI. Two dimensional materials are always harder and they are often too visually busy. We’ve found some great ones that Little Bear loves, though! Here are some favorites that are visually simple and include highly saturated colors:

So Big! (Honestly, can you ever go wrong with Elmo?)

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That’s Not My Dinosaur (This one is also great because it’s got texture!)

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And a few suggestions from our Facebook friends:

I Like It When by Mary Murphy

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The Miffy Series by Dick Bruna

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Little Bear’s Christmas List http://www.littlebearsees.org/2013/12/19/little-bears-christmas-list/ http://www.littlebearsees.org/2013/12/19/little-bears-christmas-list/#respond Fri, 20 Dec 2013 05:01:00 +0000 http://www.littlebearsees.org/?p=708 We’ve been having a great conversation over at our Facebook page about gift ideas for kids with CVI.  We know how tough it can be to find good gifts, but this year we’ve gotten some excellent ideas from all of you!  So, after much consideration, here is the final list of what we decided on […]

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tickletubeWe’ve been having a great conversation over at our Facebook page about gift ideas for kids with CVI.  We know how tough it can be to find good gifts, but this year we’ve gotten some excellent ideas from all of you!  So, after much consideration, here is the final list of what we decided on for our little bear.  Come visit our page to see the other ideas we considered and to share your own!

1. Doodle Dome:

We’re very excited about this one as a great way to create an instant dark room for Lukas!  He loves being in the dark room at school, so we know he’ll enjoy looking at his iPad and lots of different light up toys in here too!  Thanks, Crystal, for the suggestion!

2. Musical Twister:

Lukas has always loved toys that are switch adapted and Enabling Devices makes many of his favorites!  This one looked like it could offer some excellent visual stimulation as well due to the movement and sparkly quality of the glitter.  Can’t wait to see him try it out!

3. Tickle Tube:

Grandma thought her little bear needed another toy he could occupy himself with when Mom and Dad are busy with his new little sister.  This looks like a great option for both visual stimulation with the light and tactile interest!

4. Sing & Play Activity Box:

At school, Lukas is working on making choices visually.  He loves songs and this box seemed like the perfect way to have a visual representation of different songs for him to choose from!  Each item is pretty visually simple and it wouldn’t be hard to find other simple items to add to it to represent more songs.  We also loved that this one was a relatively inexpensive gift for Lukas!

5. Punchy Poncho

Finally, even though this isn’t directly related to CVI, we are very excited about this item for Little Bear!  Many children with CVI also have cerebral palsy and many of these children are in wheelchairs.  Lukas gets cold easily and we often have a hard time keeping a blanket on him or getting him into a coat.  This is the perfect solution to our problem!  They are essentially wearable blankets which go over the head.  This makes them easy to put on and keep on.

These ponchos are made by another mom of a child with special needs trying to solve this same problem for her daughter.  She really works hard to make sure you get exactly what you need in a fabric you and your child will love!  We definitely recommend checking out her site!

 

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