University of Edinburgh

Cerebral Visual Impairment: an educational perspective

Presented on Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Access to the environment and the need for a responsive learning environment

Mary Dallas and Janis Sugden

The environment

That which encompasses normal teaching activities. (Ware 2003) Early learning and how learners can be supported to access the environment.

Reactive environment

environment - curriculum

Activity: Responsive environments

Note down at least five features which might be included within a responsive environment for a young person you support who has CVI (that is, an environment which is designed to react and respond to the efforts of the young person).

Barriers to environmental access

  • Motor impairments
  • Direct effects
  • limited movement
  • additional expenditure of effort
  • Indirect effects of supportive equipment

Sensory impairments

  • lack of /reduced access to stimuli reduce motivation to explore and interact
  • apprehension (Ware 2003)

Overcoming the barriers

  • Teach contingency awareness
  • Make the environment accessible and responsive
  • Make the social and non-social activities and settings responsive to specific needs

Significant features

  • Lighting and shade
  • Colour and contrast
  • Acoustics and auditory considerations
  • Entrances, doors and doorways
  • Heating and ventilation
  • Horizontal circulation
  • Obstacles and clutter
  • Changes in level
  • Signage
  • Display
  • Furniture, fixtures and fittings
  • Storage
  • Bathrooms and personal care
  • Outdoor areas