presented by Cynthia N. Potter
This course provides participants with a review of common visual problems associated with developmental and sensory disabilities. The impact of these conditions on the child’s visual function and development is described. Examples of children with common visual problems and interventions individualized to the child’s capabilities are discussed.
Cindy Potter, PT, MS, DPT, has worked with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in many different practice settings, including early intervention, outpatient, preschool, school, community-based settings, and ICF/IDD facilities for 39 years. She earned a BS in biology and English writing from Allegheny College, an MS in health-related professions (developmental disabilities track) from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Slippery Rock University. She is a former associate professor and chair of the Graduate School of Physical Therapy at Slippery Rock University. She currently serves as chairman of the State Board of Physical Therapy in Pennsylvania and is in her third term on the licensure board. She has presented internationally and has published in peer-reviewed journals. With a strong interest in global health, she has served on 20 medical missions and is the president of the non-profit Honduras Hope Mission, Inc.
Behaviors that may indicate impaired vision and the child’s use of vision under different conditions is discussed. Indicators of vision problems based on physical appearance and movement of the eyes are identified. Case examples are presented of children with different signs and symptoms of visual problems.
Factors including eye movements, nystagmus, accommodation, convergence, and strabismus can affect efficient use of vision in those with developmental disabilities. Common problems include cataracts, glaucoma, albinism, and retinal detachment. An overview of these problems and case examples are presented.
Cortical visual impairment is common in those with severe developmental disability. The causes and characteristics of visual function in those with CVI are discussed in relation to the development of a physical therapy plan.
Deaf-blindness is a rarely occurring sensory impairment which greatly impacts that child’s learning and development. Causes of deaf-blindness and strategies for working with children affected are presented.