Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Sample Classroom Modifications for Students with CVI

Environmental modifications in the classroom can help students with cortical visual impairment (CVI) to function more independently.  Many of these modifications could benefit other students as well, by reducing visual clutter and complexity.  While this example of a 5th grade classroom is not perfect, it is a great start for students with CVI!

1.  Paint walls black.

Most elementary school classrooms have bright colors and many things hanging on the walls, and this can be a visual challenge for children with CVI.  The walls of this classroom are painted black and provide good contrast.

Black wall in classroom adapted for student with CVI

2.  Leave wall blank.

It is not always possible to leave all walls blank, but it will be helpful to students with CVI if at least one of the black walls is left blank.

Busier part of classroom

3.  Hang nothing from the ceiling.

Again, elementary school classrooms tend to be visually busy places with things hanging from the ceiling, as well as on the walls.  Notice how the absence of anything hanging from the ceiling in the photo above helps to decrease the visual clutter and complexity.

4.  Use color to create visual targets.

Color can be used to highlight certain visual targets in the classroom, such as the way these colorful paper flowers highlight the doorway.

Classroom modified for students with CVI


5.  Additional Recommendations

  • Reduce visual complexity around door frame and on bulletin boards.
  • Put shades over the fluorescent lights.
  • Add task lighting.
  • Make fabric covers that can be unrolled to cover bulletin boards or walls. 


Share Your Ideas!

We would love to see other examples of classrooms where the environment has been modified for students with CVI!  You can email us with your examples or add them in the comments section below.

Collage of classroom modifications

Posted on September 10, 2019
Updated on: October 21, 2019