Children with hemiplegia may have vision abnormalities. In a study conducted in Italy in 2001, 80% of children with congenital or early acquired hemiplegic cerebral palsy showed abnormal results in at least one visual test. Children with a diagnosis of hemiplegia should have early eye exams from a neuro-opthamologist.
Amblyopia is the medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye anad the brain are not working together properly. This condition is sometimes known as “lazy eye.”
Hemianopia, sometimes called hemianopsia, is a blindness in one half of the visual field. This can affect the right or left side and will affect both eyes. This condition is sometimes known as “visual field cuts.”
Strabismus is a condition in which the two eyes do not line up in the same direction, and therefore do not look at the same object at the same time. This condition is sometimes known as “crossed eyes.”
Parents Speak – Visual Adaptations in Education
- Large print
- Talking software
- Voice activated software
- Visual instruction
- Extra safety precautions in school environment and on playground
- For beginning writers, the teacher can write in the child’s journal with a light colored marker and the child can trace the writing. Use fat markers. If the teacher plans the writing prompts in advance, she can do this before classroom journal writing time.
Parents Speak – Visual Field Cuts
- When reading, mark materials so that the reader will know where to stop or start. If the reader has right vision loss, you might draw a blue line along the right margin of the page.
- Once the child realizes that he or she can only see to one side, they may be able to learn to physically turn to the other side in order to see objects. If the child is unable to learn this, the parent might consider making accommodations such as placing food on the visual side of the plate.
Other Resources – Vision in Children with Hemiplegia
Amblyopia – National Eye Institute
Strabisumus – Medline Plus Encyclopedia
Visual function in children with hemiplegia in the first years of life
Asymmetries in visual-spatial processing following childhood stroke. April 2004. South Carolina
Neonatal cerebral infarction and visual function at school age. Nov. 2003. London. Mercuri, Anker, Guzzetta, Barnett, Haataja, Rutherford, Cowan, Dubowitz, Braddick, Atkinson
Visual function in children with hemiplegia in the first years of life. May 2001. Italy. These results indicate that visual abnormalities are common in children with hemiplegia, and that they cannot always be predicted by MRI. All children with hemiplegia need a detailed assessment of visual function.
Visual function and perinatal focal cerebral infarction. Sept. 1996. London.
Visual outcome in children with congenital hemiplegia: correlation with MRI findings. Aug. 1996. Italy. Results would suggest that all the children with congenital hemiplegia need to be investigated irrespective of the clinical severity or of the type or the extent of the lesion. This would help to identify children with minor visual abnormalities which can affect everyday life performance.