connections logo


Mark your calendar for:  August 10, 12, 17, 18 & 19, 2021 from 3:00 - 5:00 pm EST

Add to Calendar 


This is an online event. 



Cheri Dowling 
Maryland and DC Deaf-blind Project 

Thank you to our sponsor

CViConnect YouTube Channel


Virtual Summer Institute 2021 

 Cortical Visual Impairment:  Communication, Literacy, and Related Skills

5-Part Series

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

Meet Your Presenters

Christine Roman-Lantzy, Ph.D.

Christine Roman was raised in Michigan and received degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education/Visual Impairment at Michigan State University. She worked as an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for 17 years prior to becoming a Research Assistant in the Vision Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. While at Pitt, she completed studies in Orientation & Mobility and received a Master’s Degree in Medically Fragile/High Risk Infants.

Her doctoral studies were also completed at Pitt where she completed a Ph.D. in 1996; her dissertation, Validation of an Interview Instrument to Identify Behaviors Characteristic of Cortical Visual Impairment in Infants revealed that caregivers of infants can reliably report regarding the presence or absence of the characteristics of CVI.

Dr. Roman is the Director of The Pediatric View Program at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA and a former Project Leader of the CVI Project at The American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, KY.

She has lectured extensively regarding the CVI educational materials she has developed. These materials include: The CVI Range an assessment of functional vision, and The CVI Resolution Chart & CVI/O&M Resolution Chart used to plot and monitor progress both of which will be available in a book in press (working title, CVI: Identification, Assessment & Intervention) with The American Foundation for the Blind.


Christopher Russell, MS. Ed., TVI

Christopher Russell is the Project Coordinator for the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative, and has experience as a classroom teacher and Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) working with children who have visual impairments and additional disabilities including deaf-blindness. Chris presents widely in NY and nationally on educational implications of deaf-blindness, cortical visual impairment, curriculum adaptations, and communication development for children with pre-symbolic communication. He has the Perkins-Roman CVI Range Endorsement and serves as co-instructor with Dr. Roman on the Perkins E-Learning CVI and CVI: Phase III courses.


 Jennifer Willis, MS

Jennifer Willis has worked with children who have dual sensory impairment since 2003. While working on her teaching degree, she served as a 1-to-1 aide and intervener, working at the Maryland School for the Blind for five years. Once she earned her degree, she spent nine years teaching in the Family Education Department at the Maryland School for the Deaf, serving children in the birth-to-5 years population and their families, with a special focus on children with deafblindness and multiple disabilities.  Jen earned her BS in Deaf Studies from Towson University, and her MS in Deaf Education from McDaniel College. She also holds a certification in special education and early childhood education, and has extensive training related to supporting children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, she has many years of experience working with children who have cortical visual impairment and recently earned a Perkins/Roman CVI Range Endorsement.  In her role as Project Coordinator for CBSS, Jen will work closely with the Project Director and other team members to achieve the outcomes targeted by the grant activities. Her specific role includes being responsible for coordinating the training and technical assistance components of grant activities to ensure both are delivered effectively and efficiently. She also shares responsibility for delivering training, technical assistance, and coaching to individuals receiving training to ensure that consumers of project services are better able to support their students with deafblindness achieve improved outcomes.


Program Schedule

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

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 EST   

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 EST 

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 EST   

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.