Modify on the Fly for CVI

Resources for teachers and families modifying materials for learners with CVI (Cortical Visual Impairment)

By Yvonne Locke

In an effort to assist families and teams find materials related to Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), I have complied a list resources I find the most helpful. There are many, many products available, therefore, I would recommend visiting the sites noted and exploring the options. Not all materials need to be purchased from a specialty company and can be found in a variety of stores. Please note, the items listed below are a general list, and therefore not all of them are appropriate for all children. Please consult with your TVI before purchasing or using any of the material included in this resource.

Everyday Toolkit

Have a toolkit on hand to make quick last minute or in-the-moment modifications. Below are a few examples. Hopefully some of them with spark your creativity.

  • Scissors for cutting out images and isolating them.
  • Black construction paper to mount pictures on or to make reading masks. Masks are used to block visual clutter in pictures or books.
  • Use black fabric to limit the complexity of array on tables, trays, the floor, etc. You can find this at any big box store for a reasonable price.
  • Highlighters and colored sharpies to highlight the salient features of an image, worksheet, or visual scene.
  • Use an iPad to take pictures of each page in a book “on the fly” so that the learner has a personal copy during circle/reading time. You can also use an iPad to grab realistic Google© images of objects that are depicted more abstractly in a story.
  • Colored duct tape (yellow, red, etc.) can be used for providing anchors in visual space such as “parking spaces” on the learner’s calendar or cubicle, highlighting objects to stand out (spoon at meal time), or outlining small work spaces.
  • Use opaque folders to create colored reading guides of a variety of shapes and sizes.
  • Create a Modify on the Fly reading folder that contains colored dots, reading guides, and masks to easily and quickly adapt pictures and books.
  • Have a flashlight on hand for instant light support to gain visual attention.

American Printing House for the Blind

American Printing House for the Blind has many products that can be used to provide quick and easy modifications to materials and the environment. Have a few of these on hand to make modifying on the fly adaptations or keep them in a stationary space to provide an environment that is visually accessible. Or better yet, do both! The product descriptions are from the APH website.  We have included prices here, but many of these items are also available through Federal Quota Funds.



“Block out distractions for learners with APH’s Invisiboard. This 48 x 30 inch, tri-fold board eliminates visual clutter with a solid white, slick material on one side and a solid black, VELCRO® brand compatible material on the other. This portable, lightweight kit includes a convenient carrying case and a print/braille orientation binder.”

Tri-fold Board

trifold board
Tri-fold Board

“This tri-fold board is covered with VELCRO® brand loop material and can be used for a variety of educational and recreational activities. This board measures 37 x 24 inches and can be used in combination with many existing APH VELCRO® brand-backed pieces (e.g., Picture Maker Accessories), as well as with commercially available OR teacher/parent-made manipulatives.

“The Tri-fold Board can be used at its full size, folded down to one or two panels, or propped up in an easel position (if supported from behind). Two 3/4-inch nickel plated D-rings are riveted in the top center of the two outside panels for easy hanging. The reverse side of the board is covered with a protective red vinyl. The Tri-fold Board offers an intermediate size between APH’s Picture Maker 13 x 20.75 inch Felt Board and the larger 48 x 30 inch Invisiboard.”

Felt Board, Black: 13 x 20.75 Inch

black felt board
Black Felt Board

This Felt Board is covered in VELCRO® brand loop material and can be used for a variety of educational and recreational activities. It fits well into the APH small work/play tray for an instant slant board. “The Felt Board can be used vertically, horizontally, or lying flat. This board measures 13 x 20.75 inches and can be used in combination with many existing APH VELCRO® brand-backed pieces (e.g., Picture Maker Accessories), as well as with commercially available OR teacher/parent-made manipulatives.”

All-In-One Board: Learner Model

all in one board
All-in-One Board

“A noticeably smaller version of APH’s popular All-In-One Board. Sometimes called the smAll- In-One Board, this handy, smaller multi-platform adjustable board can be used in combination with either VELCRO® brand hook material accessories or magnetic pieces (homemade, obtained from APH, or purchased commercially), as well as with dry erase markers to facilitate a variety of learning activities. This smaller size accommodates portability and desktop use by an individual learner with visual impairment or blindness. Surface of board measures 13.5 x 10.75 inches.”

Picture Maker Storage Panel

Picture Maker
Picture Maker Storage Panel

“Store unused Picture Maker pieces so the entire main Picture Maker board can be used for diagramming purposes. The 8 1/2 x 11 inch panel is double-sided with soft black VELTEX® brand material, 3-hole punched edge, and customer-applied VELCRO® brand hook tabs. These panels are perfect for making books using a binder.”

ReadWrite Stand

ReadWrite Stand
ReadWrite Stand

“This stand can be used by [learners] and adults with visual impairments for both reading and writing tasks. The ReadWrite Stand measures 18 x 14 1/8 inches and can be positioned in four distinct angles – 5º (at rest), 15º, 30º, and 45º. Its solid, sturdy surface accommodates both reading and writing tasks. It features a low-profile clip that secures reading/writing materials (e.g., worksheets) to the stand during use. An LED book light is provided and can be positioned by the user along the upper edge of the reading stand.”

Expandable Calendar Boxes

black expandable calendar boxes
Expandable Calendar Boxes

“These boxes help [learners] who lack a formal means of communication and literacy. They are closed-cell foam boxes that can be used singularly as an anticipation box or in a grouping of two or more as calendar boxes.”

Work-Play Trays

yellow work play tray
Yellow Work-Play Tray
Catalog: 1-03751-00 (small black tray)
Catalog: 1-03660-00 (small yellow tray)

“These handy trays are useful in a variety of situations. Durable trays hold objects that might roll out of reach. Trays provide enclosed work space for sorting, matching, classifying, and counting. They come in small and large and in yellow and black. These trays are also available in a larger 21.25 x 13.25 size for larger work-play spaces.”

Small Work-Play Tray, Dividers (4-pack)

dividers for the work play trays
Work-Play Tray Dividers

“Dividers for Small Work-Play Trays. Divide the work area into two, three, four, or five parts.

Note: Dividers are not available for the Large Work-Play trays.”

Feel ‘n Peel Sheets: Carousel of Textures

Feel and peel sheets package
Carousel of Textures

“An assortment of sheets in a variety of textures and colors that can be used in numerous ways by teachers, parents, learners, and adults.”

Bright Line Reading Guide

bright line
Bright Line Reading Guide
Catalogue Number: 1-03060-00 Yellow
1-03061-00 Pink

“This tool, for low vision readers, can be placed over text to highlight, eliminate glare, and promote maximum contrast. The Bright Line Reading Guide provides a black reference line that helps the reader keep his or her place on the page. The guide is 10 inches long, but can be cut to any size and three-hole punched for placement in a binder. Each pink or yellow guide comes in a vinyl protective pouch.”

GlaReducer Sheets (4-pack)

glareducer sheets
GlaReducer Sheets

“Enhance contrast and reduce glare on an entire page with these 8 1/2 x 11 inch translucent vinyl sheets in pink and yellow. The sheets can be three-hole punched and inserted in a binder. The set includes two pink and two yellow sheets.”

Independent Living Aids

Can-Do Low Vision Contrast Pen

Can Do Low Vision pen
Can-Do Low Vision pen
Catalog Number: 811210

Pen produces a wide black line.

Faber Castell PencilFaber Castel 8B Bold Line Pencil

Catalog Number: 811208
Pencil produces a dark bold line.


Hygloss Metallic Foil Paper

Hygloss metallic paper
Hygloss metallic paper
Pack of 24-Assorted Colors

Metallic paperHygloss Embossed Metallic Foil Paper Sheets and Designs

Metallic glitter tapeDIY Glitter Washi Tape Set

Dollar Stores and Novelty Shops

The Dollar Tree® and Family Dollar® are two of the stores I frequent. You can find so many materials to use for modifying on the fly. I typically visit them when they put out the new seasonal materials. I have found tape, wrapping paper, tissue paper, ribbon, etc.

Custom Materials

My colleagues and I (mostly their design brilliance) often have custom materials made out of tri-wall board.  These have included calendar boxes, all done boxes, slant boards, study carousel to put on wheelchair/stander trays or table tops, and individual boards for objects or images. In Connecticut, we have the ability to have these made for us. For the products we have made we use The Lighthouse Voc-Ed Center Inc. They can ship, so if you’re in another part of the country you can contact them directly. But, if you don’t have the resources or if you are particularly handy you can always make them yourself. Sturdy cardboard works really well too.

Lighthouse Voc-Ed Center, Inc.
(860) 445-7626
46 Plaza Court
Groton, CT 06340

Below are some of the most common items we use. All of these designs are credited to Peg Palmer, one of our amazing preschool TVIs.

red box
All-Done Box for Calendar Systems
Slant Board with Storage in Back
slantboard storage
Side view of slantboard
study carrel
Tray or Table Top Learner Study Carrel
three-part calendar box
Three-part calendar box
Collage of modify on fly for CVI