Encouraging a Child with Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment to Wear Eyeglasses
From chapter nine of Vision and the Brain: Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children.
With most children, encouraging spectacle wear and achieving compliance requires perseverance. The child may not like the new and challenging feel of the spectacles on his or her face, or the child may not immediately appreciate the benefits to improve vision. Many children with a developmental disability are stressed by new or different experiences, so the introduction of new eyeglasses must be treated with sensitivity.
Here are some things to keep in mind when encouraging a child with cerebral/cortical visual impairment (CVI) to wear eyeglasses:
- Be prepared for the process to take time. Gentle perseverance and rewards for compliance will pay off in the end. But it may take weeks, months, or, in extreme cases, years for full-time wear.
- Begin with wearing the eyeglasses for a favorite activity such as eating, watching a special movie, or playing a game. The activity should be short at first and stopped when the spectacles come off.
- The length of time the spectacles are worn can be extended through positive reinforcement, such as compliments on the look of the spectacles and praise for keeping the eyeglasses on during a specific activity.
- Aim for a teaching approach that will make the child feel as if it is a treat when the eyeglasses are on and a disappointment when they are off.
- Make sure that the eyeglasses are comfortable. The fit and adjustment of the spectacles should be monitored on an ongoing basis.
- Do not turn the process into a battle because, in all likelihood, the child will win.
Remember that failure by the child to accept eyeglasses at one point in time is not a reason to permanently dismiss them. Sometimes, when the child is more mature or when medical issues have become resolved, eyeglasses will be accepted more easily.
For more information about eyeglasses and other optical devices for children with cortical visual impairment, read Vision and the Brain: Understanding Cortical Visual Impairment in Children available in the AFB Store at aphcareerconnect.org/store.