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Observation Activity 1

Observation and Identification

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In trainings in the past, participants have asked if they we could provide a simulation activity for CVI and (C)APD. It is difficult to imagine what children may encounter when their visual and hearing “brain” is not functioning efficiently. Each child’s brain is affected differently and so the only way we may get some “clues” would be to observe their behaviors. And, to make things a bit more complicated, the visual cortex is not the only part of the brain that helps us see and make sense of things; nor is the auditory area of the brain the only part that responds to sounds! Think about scenarios where, even if you can see and hear, you cannot understand – or when it takes time. Here are some random examples:

  1. You are in a foreign country where you don’t know a word of the language, and where even gestures and body language are not really very helpful.
  2. Imagine that when you look around you, you can see EVERYTHING your eye falls on – without being able to pick out one thing. You cannot fix your eyes on anything, but have to keep your eyes moving. And you have no idea WHAT you are looking for. Even searching for Waldo is easier – because at least you know you are looking for him!
  3. You are in a huge bus station that is enclosed. You are wearing a blindfold, and now have to depend on your hearing. But what you hear are echoes, revving up of engines, buses driving in or out, maybe horns honking, people yelling or talking, laughter – and you do not know which way to turn. It will take you a while to hear your friend’s voice amid all that kind of noise.
  4. You are in space. Everything is floating around you in no specific order; nothing is in its assigned “place”. You have to locate one item, but even scanning doesn’t work because the floating objects don’t move predictably.
  5. You aim your camera at something you can see – but the result is a “blank” picture – no shape or form, no color.

In short – try to make up something where sounds go into your head, as do visuals, but where you cannot really make sense of things.

Take a look at the link: www.ecb.org/wymf and read about “Emmy’s Song”. Alcy Sivyer became friends with Emmy in High School. This provides insights into what Alcy imagined Emmy’s world might be like. Emmy is a young woman with CVI and, possibly APD. She can both “see” and “hear” – but the brain’s interpretation is erratic, different, and sometimes difficult to understand. If you would like to learn more about Emmy herself – take a look at http://www.indee.tv/films/view/emmys-story-3 -- also by Alcy Sivyer.


Western Oregon University | The Research Institute | The Oregon Deafblind Project

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The Oregon Deafblind Project is funded through grant award # H326T130008, OSEP CFDA 84.326T, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education (OSEP), OSEP Project Officer: Susan Weigert.

However, the contents of this site does not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.

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