Assessment of Visual Awareness and Field of Vision using 'Puppetface' In response to the need for a practical assessment of visual awareness and field of vision in children, two versions of such an assessment are now available.
They were specifically designed for pre-school and Early Years children with CVI and for older children with possible undiagnosed Cerebral Visual Impairment attending special schools. Supporting such a diverse group of children, young people, their families and schools requires information which is demonstrable, available and understandable to all the members of a supporting team consisting of parents,teachers and caregivers. Some of the everyday questions raised by the terms"Visual Awareness and Field of Vision" are:
'What can they see?
'Where can they see it?'
'How far can they see?'
'How big must it be?'
'Which side is best'
'What size does something need to be to be visible to them?'
An observation distance of 50 centimetres - an arm's length away from the child is used for the assessments. This closeness also presents the opportunity to build a relationship with the child and can be good fun for both adult and child.
'Puppetface' is for use in daylight at home, school or clinic; 'Black-lite Puppetface' was designed for use in sensory rooms under ultraviolet light (UVA) to take advantage of the fluorescent quality of light and elimination of other background distractions, so is better suited to some children. The simpler format of this second version - ring booklet and single cards - is also a practical assessment option in more formal daylight settings such as the orthoptic clinic. Both use the same size stimulus faces. Children respond positively to these smiling faces.
"Puppetfaces are such strong attractors that babies and young children with very poor vision can become motivated and active for the first time when they see them'"
In assessing pupils aged two to fifteen years a teacher reported, "...I must first mention how great the puppet faces are for gaining attention and eliciting responses!...I think one of the key successes is that the smiling faces are as appealing and attractive as they are visually distinct..."
The practical and fun nature of 'Puppetface' means it can be used in a variety of situations where the visual awareness of an Early Years child or the available field of vision needs to be tested. Hand-held puppets are twirled between finger and thumb; the back of the puppet is not easily seen but it pops into view when twirled round. Another half twirl and it disappears again! The aims are specific to demonstrating visual curiosity: basic visual awareness, size of stimulus required and available visual field - this latter will indicate the best position to offer a child something. Those key questions - 'What can I see? and 'Where can I see it?', on behalf of a child, these are the two most important questions adults ask. They need to know the answers when planning intervention strategies. One way to answer these questions and inform the supporting team is to record the assessment. A video will clearly indicate which side is best to show a child a picture and how big it must be.
Professor Dutton, with whose generous help the test was designed, also says the six different-sized faces, "...are brilliant for identifying the line thickness the child needs for anything one wants the child to learn from....".
Sharing information with other adults is the whole purpose of the exercise and the observations made can give a baseline for further visual development programmes. To help with written reports supplementary tables of comparisons and visual acuity equivalences are shown, The prime use of 'Puppetface',however, is to provide information on visual awareness and field of vision, in person, to all three adult groups - parents, teachers and support staff. This assessment will be of interest to teachers of the visually impaired; peripatetic QTVI personnel teachers and their support staff in special schools; parents and some orthoptic,ophthalmology and paediatric departments.
"the best piece of kit I carry with me"
'Puppet Face' includes a Pop-up Case, Puppet Faces 1 - 6, Pamphlet with instructions, alternative carrier pouch, occluder card & background, CD
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