Thanks to Bright Eyes Tampa for posting this article on facebook! Cortical visual impairment (CVI) is a disorder that stops the interpretation of visual information. Parents of children with CVI had noticed that their children interacted with the devices much more than with other objects, but there had never been any formal studies. More recently, a researcher at University of Kansas, Dr. Muriel Saunders, who was studying adaptive switches, gave 15 toddlers an iPad to play with in an attempt to gauge the children’s interaction. Most people with CVI will look directly at objects only briefly, though they will look at lights much more. The bright screen on the iPad and similar devices can provide much more visual contrast to objects, making them easier to process visually. Those children that were given the iPad interacted with the objects on the screen in ways that astounded the researchers and their parents. Dr. Saunders is currently working on writing a grant proposal to study ways that the iPad could be used to help children with CVI learn to interact with and control objects on the screen, and possibly even give rise to new early intervention strategies that may help the children learn to better interpret visual information. The full article from Tech News Daily is here.
I’m fascinated by the advances in technology and the ways that these technologies can open up new avenues for helping people with disabilities overcome them.