RIDBC launches iBook to help improve the life outcomes of children with cortical vision loss

Ella tapping on her red tambourine

To celebrate Orthoptic Awareness Week, 28th February – 4th March, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) is launching their Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) iBook to provide parents with more information about CVI and gain a better understanding of their child’s needs.

Rosa Wright, one of six orthoptists at RIDBC, has a special interest in cortical visual impairment, a condition that can cause severe vision loss and blindness.

“CVI is a complex condition – no two children with CVI will present in the same manner. However, it is hoped that this resource will assist parents to identify the characteristics of CVI that their child is displaying, and to incorporate appropriate strategies that will assist their child to utilise the vision they have,” says, Rosa Wright, Orthoptist at RIDBC.

RIDBC's specialised and highly skilled team of orthoptists play an integral role in ensuring the best possible outcomes for children and adults with vision loss through their specialised assessments and clinical expertise, client engagement and support.

3 year old, Ella Rose, was diagnosed with CVI and Optic Atrophy, degeneration of the optic nerve which carries visual information from the retina to the brain, when she was 9 months old.

“When Ella was just 6 months old, I told my husband I think our daughter is blind, but he thought I was overreacting,” said Ella’s Mum, Amanda.

On diagnosis, Amanda contacted RIDBC and enrolled Ella into RIDBC’s Early Learning Program (Vision Impairment). “RIDBC has been a life saver and helped me to understand Ella’s vision impairment and gave me the knowledge and tools I needed to help her,” said Amanda.

Ella currently receives fortnightly home visits from RIDBC Vision Impairment Consultant, Vicky O’Rourke.

“Vicky has been wonderful and has helped Ella to improve her functional vision and build her confidence with making eye contact with people outside her family. Ella is now able to scan objects and reach out and hold on to things,” said Amanda.

“Ella is a very social little girl and has made significant gains in using her vision, and so it was very important for her to develop the ability to make eye contact and look at people’s faces when engaged in an interaction,” said Vicky.

The CVI iBook will help parents to identify the main characteristics of CVI that their child is displaying, and to incorporate appropriate strategies to promote their child’s visual functioning throughout their everyday routines. Topics covered in the iBook include The Process of Seeing, What is CVI?, Common Characteristics of CVI and a Note about Visual Acuity.

To download the Cortical Visual Impairment iBook from the iTunes, please visit: http://www.ridbc.org.au/cviibook

RIDBC is a charity and Australia’s largest non-government provider of therapy, education and cochlear implant services for people with hearing or vision loss, supporting thousands of adults, children and their families, each year.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in people's lives.