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The Virginia A. Jacko

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Collaborative Center

Miami Lighthouse is proud to announce the launch of the first collaboration between educators, medical professionals, researchers and service providers in the state of Florida, responding exclusively to Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), the number one cause of pediatric visual impairment in developed and developing countries (National Eye Institute, 2021). The CVI Center is in partnership with pediatric ophthalmologists at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the Nation's No. 1 hospital in ophthalmology, and neurologists at The Brain Institute at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Click here to read an article featured in Forbes titled “Miami Lighthouse Opens Florida’s First CVI Center To Address Pediatric Visual Impairment”. Click here to read an article featured in Forbes titled “Miami Lighthouse Opens Florida’s First CVI Center To Address Pediatric Visual Impairment” .

What is CVI?

  • CVI is a brain-based visual impairment, caused by damage to the visual processing pathways in the brain
  • Unlike ocular visual impairment, functional vision in children with CVI is expected to improve with early diagnosis, appropriate assessment and intervention
  • CVI can be congenital or acquired due to trauma occurring after birth
  • CVI is most commonly caused by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), hydrocephalus, seizure, metabolic disease, infection or head trauma such as shaken baby syndrome
  • Under the umbrella of other cerebral visual impairments, Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) is associated with the 10 specific visual characteristics and behaviors:
    • need or dependence on light, movement, color preference
    • demonstrated visual latency, visual field preferences, abnormal visual reflexes
    • difficulty with visual complexity of objects, array, face or the sensory environment; difficulty with novelty (new environmental, materials) distance viewing and visually guided reach

(Roman-Lantzy, 2018)

Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald

Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald, an endorsed CVI specialist, Certified Teacher of the Visually Impaired and Board member of the Pediatric Cortical Visual Impairment Society provides crucial educational intervention for students with CVI like Almudena

The CVI Collaborative Center provides infants and school-aged students with:

  • Assessment & Educational Planning: post-diagnosis Functional Vision Assessment (CVI Range Assessment), Learning Media Assessment (Sensory Balance Profile), and educational planning and recommendations for instructional intervention that address the child’s unique learning needs
  • Education-based intervention: direct service instruction to maximize the child’s opportunity to access his/her academic materials and fulfill his/her educational potential
  • Family Support and Education: ongoing education and support for families and education teams
  • Onsite and Outreach Service: services are provided on site, home visits, and via outreach services

Why We Are Focusing on CVI:

  • One word: Neuroplasticity.
  • With early diagnosis, ongoing assessment, and appropriate educational intervention, research demonstrates functional vision improvement
  • Inter-professional collaboration is key to addressing CVI in a holistic way: bridging medical diagnosis, functional vision assessment and educational intervention
  • Children with CVI can utilize multi-sensory learning, using their vision to access materials adapted to their need to build literacy and math skills, engage socially with their peers, and reach their full potential when given the opportunity

Implementing Professional Development at the CVI Collaborative Center:

  • Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, therapists, classroom teachers and staff are receiving ongoing training on CVI-specific assessment, educational planning and accommodations
  • Promoting parent education, community awareness and advocacy on CVI
  • Bridging connections and collaborating with teams of educators and therapists serving children with CVI in South Florida

For more information about our CVI Collaborative Center contact:

Virginia Jacko President and CEO at vjacko@miamilighthouse.org, 305-856-4176 or
Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald Director of our CVI Collaborative Center at fcrozier-fitzgerald@miamilighthouse.org, 786-362-7483.

Parent Testimonials

“I was frantic to help my child when a new ophthalmologist told me about the Miami Lighthouse and I enrolled him in the pre-school program at the age of 2. Through a specialized CVI assessment it was found that with the right support he is able to access his curriculum visually. Lorenzo is now reading text at grade level with the appropriate adaptations, support and technology in place, thanks to the Miami Lighthouse to the Blind. Their early intervention enabled my son to excel academically and information explaining how CVI-specific instructional intervention enhanced his literacy, math, and all other areas of learning.” - Caterina Sastri

Lorenzo

Lorenzo is now a second grader in our Miami Lighthouse Academy and is reading print text at grade level. Text adapted from Florida’s Grade 2 Wonders Curriculum, “Families from India.”

“Aimee has CVI and has made tremendous progress working with all the amazing staff at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, especially Francesca. She has provided us with numerous techniques that we are able to incorporate at home to assist Aimee with identifying objects, letters, puzzles and more — focusing on reducing clutter, being specific and consistent, and most of all having much grace, patience and love! This program has been a life changing experience for not only my daughter, Aimee, but for me as well! We are continuously learning new ways to help Aimee with her visual impairment. We are forever grateful for the thoroughness of this program to focus on exactly what Aimee needs to help her succeed!” - Dr. Casey Bittner

Aimee

Aimee started at the Miami Lighthouse Academy in the toddler class. In Pre-K, at age 4, Aimee is learning the letters in the alphabet and building her pre-literacy skills

 


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Miami Lighthouse is honored by the following

 

AERBVI

Miami Lighthouse is AER accredited distinguishing that an agency or school operates at the highest level of quality and is positioned to generate the outcomes needed by the clients.

PR Week

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2020 award for "Best in Nonprofit" campaign by PRWeek referred to as the "Oscars of the PR industry".

Charity Navigator

Miami Lighthouse ranks among the elite 1% of U.S. nonprofits having earned 13 consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator, the nation's premier independent nonprofit evaluator. Receiving such a distinction reflects our sound fiscal management, responsible use of donor dollars, and financial strength.

The Children's Trust

Early Intervention Blind Babies Program Named the Children's Trust 2016 Program of the Year. This most prestigious award recognizes this Early Intervention Program, in particular, for including parents as teachers.

Apple

Miami Lighthouse Learning Center for Children™ is a Florida gold seal and nationally Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE)

 
 

Florida Blue Foundation

Miami Lighthouse was recognized at the 2015 Florida Blue Foundation Sapphire Awards luncheon as an organization that has demonstrated excellence and innovation in community health.

The Beacon Council

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2015 Beacon Award in Education at the 13th Annual Beacon Council Awards.

Marlins Charity Partner

Miami Lighthouse is a two-time Charity Partner (2013 and 2014) of the Marlins Foundation and a 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game Legacy Partner. Our Florida Heiken Children's Vision Program has received over $300,000 in charitable donations through these partnerships.

Health Foundation of South Florida

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious 2008 Concern Award from Health Foundation of South Florida.

Miami Today

Miami Lighthouse received a Silver medal at the 2016 Miami Today Gold Medal Awards Ceremony.

 
 

Miami New Times - Best of Miami 2017

Miami Lighthouse named "Best of Miami" Charity 2017 by the New Times.

United Homecare

Miami Lighthouse received United Homecare's 2012 Thelma Gibson Community Service Award at the 18th Annual Claude Pepper Memorial Awards Ceremony.

South Florida Business Journal

Miami Lighthouse received the prestigious South Florida Business Journal 2011 Excellence in Health Care Award in the Community Outreach category.

Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce

Miami Lighthouse honored by being named the recipient of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce 2010 Non-Profit Business Diamond Award.

 
 

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