Hello, my name is Christine Roman. I am so honored that AFB and NAPVI asked me to contribute to the FamilyConnect site. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to share ideas with those of you who have a special interest in cortical visual impairment. My experiences as a teacher of children with visual impairment led me into what has become a passion. In my 17 years as an itinerant vision teacher I had the occasion to work with students who had all types of visual impairment or blindness caused by pathology or injury to their eyes. But I was also lucky enough to be the vision itinerant who served a large residential center for students who had multiple disabilities. It was in this setting that my greatest challenge was born. The classroom special education teachers urged me to explain how I could refuse to work with students who had “normal” eye exams but who acted like they didn’t see. In many cases, these cortically blind students seemed more affected than their classmates who did qualify for services because of their cataracts, glaucoma, or other ocular conditions. I did unofficially add them to my caseload but I didn’t feel confident about my skills with this unique group of students.
My thoughts of these children who had such confusing vision issues never left me even after I left the public schools to work and study at The University of Pittsburgh. While at Pitt, I also became an O&M Specialist and attained a Master’s in Dr. Verna Hart’s program for medically fragile infants. I also began working in early intervention programs, at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, and as an infant developmentalist in the NICU and in NICU Follow-Up at The Western Pennsylvania Hospital. Each of these additional experiences led me to research in CVI that became my Ph.D. dissertation topic. After I left Pitt, I began a teacher-training program in vision at Marshall University Graduate College in West Virginia. Today, I am the Director of Pediatric View at West Penn Hospital and I am the CVI Project Leader at The American Printing House for the Blind. I also am honored to consult with schools, educators, and families.
I look forward to sharing stories about CVI-related topics you are interested in. These topics can include identification/diagnosis, assessment, educational programming, environmental supports, literacy, or service delivery. I am anxious to begin our discussions.