Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

CVI Virtual Summer Institute 2021

Connections Beyond Site and Sounds (the Maryland and DC Deafblind Projects) will offer a 5-part virtual summer institute called Cortical Visual Impairment: Communication, Literacy, and Related Skills from August 10-19, 2021.  The course content is designed to provide assessment and educational information regarding Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). Participants will gain knowledge and skill to better identify, assess, and educate children with CVI. A unique focus on the complex communication needs for students with CVI and deafblindness will be addressed by two experts in the field.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the impact of CVI on the student’s ability to: gather visual information, gain access to materials presented in the educational and community settings, gain access to effective communication tools.
  • Participants will be able to describe the components of anticipation, motivation, communication and confirmation as related to the individual’s learning
  • Participants will gain knowledge and skill to better identify, assess and educate students who have or at risk for CVI
  • Participants will be able to demonstrate knowledge of adaptations and CVI recommendations to better enhance communication strategies for students with CVI and complex communication needs or dual sensory loss


Space is limited   Registration Fee $50.00 per person


  • Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D.
  • Christopher Russell, MS. Ed., TVI
  • Jennifer Willis, MS


Program Schedule

August 10 & 12,  2021:  3:00 - 5:00 pm ET 

Communication Development for Children with CVI and Complex Communication Needs Including Deafblindness (Featuring the AAC/CVI Marix) (2 Parts)

Presenter:  Christopher Russell & Jennifer Willis

These sessions will explore communication strategies for individuals who are deafblind and/or pre-linguistic communicators.  The Augmentatie and Alternative Communication (AAC) Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Matrix is an instrument designed for educational team and members  and families of students with cortical visual impairment (CVI) and complex communication needs, including those with deafblindness, to assist in developing a "balanced" communiction plan.

August 17, 2021:  3:00 - 5:00 pm ET   

Moving Through 2-D

Presenter:  Christine Roman-Lantzy

Individuals with CVI require a specialized approach to literacy.  This session will cover the progression of interventions to support literacy as children move from photographs to sight words and abstract drawings, including the use of the Roman word bubbling technique.

August 18, 2021:   3:00 - 5:00 pm ET 

Social Skills

Presenter:  Christine Roman-Lantzy

This session will discuss the effects of CVI on social learning and ways to support children in developing age-approopriate social behaviors and social interaction skills.

August 19, 2021:   3:00 - 5:00 pm ET   

Orientation and Mobility

Presenter:  Christine Roman-Lantzy

The need for orientation to one's environment starts long before the child with CVI is mobile, and continues through independent travel in both familiar and novel environments.  This session will cover orientation and mobility skills related to each Phase of CVI, and how teaching spatial and directional vocabulary can impact literacy development as well.

Learn more.


Event Date: 

Aug 10, 2021 to Aug 19, 2021