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Improving Education for Individuals with Visual Impairments.

Teaching Students with Cortical/Cerebral Impairment (CVI)

Summer Institute 2013
for Massachusetts Special Educators

Background and Purpose

At a higher level of processing, visual information is divided into two categories that are handled in different locations in the brain. One system is responsible for knowing where things are, so that we can move our bodies effectively through visual space. The other system is the 'what' system and allows us to recognize what we are looking at. Both of these high level visual systems can be damaged to varying degrees resulting in Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) that has an impact on learning and requires strategic instructional design.

This course provides an in-depth study of CVI, assessment, and instructional strategies. Participants will examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with CVI and the skills related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings, pre-K through grade 12. Topics include teaching strategies in the core and expanded core curriculums, such as: literacy, career-vocational skills, visual efficiency, and compensatory auditory strategies. Instruction will also address material modifications and accommodations.

The summer institute is free and awards 67.5 PDPs. Graduate credit (3) is available for $395.


Teachers of the Visually Impaired, special education teachers, related service providers, and teachers of students with severe disabilities.


Saturday, July 13: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday, July 14: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday, July 20: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday, July 21: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday, November 16: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Ellen Cadigan Mazel, M.Ed. CTVI, Cortical Visual Impairment Advisor

Ellen MazelEllen works for Concord Area Special Education Collaborative as a teacher of students with visual impairments, deafblindness and cortical visual impairment. She works with the Minuteman Early Intervention Program supporting families and children with visual impairments. She worked in Educational Partnerships at Perkins School for the Blind with infants and toddlers as well as school age children. In 2008, Ellen was named National Teacher of the Year for Children with Multiple Disabilities by the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB). Ellen has expertise in the area of visual impairment, deafblindness, early intervention, multiple disabilities, cortical vision impairment, and transition. After studying cortical visual impairment with Christine Roman-Lantzy for 6 years, she became interested in the most recent brain science information, how children with visual impairments build compensatory skills and how children's experiences relate to children's growth and development.


Room 2-200 Wheatley Hall
UMass Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125


Roman-Lantzy, Christine (2007). Cortical Visual Impairment: An Approach to Assessment and Intervention. New York: AFB Press


Contact Tammy Reisman ( with any questions.


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