10 NVI Characteristics


Color Preference

  • The preference for or ability to only see a specific color

  • Usually a color that has been present in a child's life (what color their favorite toy/object is)

  • Common colors for color preference are red and yellow

  • Preferred color becomes a visual anchor for highlighting information and selecting educational materials

  • The object should be the preferred color, not the background when presenting materials

Need for Movement

  • Visual attention is drawn to items that move

  • Some may not be able to see something until it moves

  • Drawn to objects that have the appearance of movement (mylar, shiny objects)

  • Some individuals move their bodies to create the movement needed to see

Visual Latency

  • A delay between an object's presentation and when it is looked at

  • May increase when ill, stressed, or tired

  • Warm-up activities can help decrease latency

  • Provide verbal information prior to presenting an item and keep silent while waiting for visual attention

Visual field preferences

  • Most often have a preference for a peripheral field (to the side)

  • Most have a lower visual field loss that affects safe travel

Difficulties with visual complexity (4 different areas)

  • Complexity of patterns on the surface of objects

  • May only look at objects of a single color at first

  • Then moving on to 2 colored objects with one of the colors being their preferred color

  • Chosen objects can gradually increase in complexity with more colors and patterns 

  • Complexity of visual array

    • May only be able to visually focus on one item at a time

    • Difficulty with clutter

    • Have a single color-black or white background is helpful

  • Complexity of human faces

    • May not be able to look into faces or only familiar faces when they're not talking

    • May appear to look through someone rather than at

  • Complexity of sensory environment 

    • Some may only be able to attend to one sense at a time (vision, hearing, tactual)

    • Lowering background noise is always helpful

Need for light

  • Prolonged periods of gazing at natural or artificial light

  • Uses a visually neutral "time out" to rest or use another sense (hearing, touch)

  • Light can be used to draw and keep attention (light box, ipad)

Difficulty with distance viewing

  • Seems to be nearsighted

  • Linked to complexity of array- the closer an object is, the more the background is covered

Atypical visual reflexes

  • Absence or delayed blink reflex when touched on the bridge of the nose

  • Absence or delayed blink to a visual threat coming toward the eyes at midline

  • There is no intervention for this characteristics, it is an indicator of overall visual ability

Difficulty with visual novelty

  • Prefer to view objects that are familiar

  • New objects need to be taught and should have similar characteristics to familiar objects

Absence of visually guided reach

  • May look at an object, then look away while reaching

  • May be able to look and reach with single color object and high contrast, but then not be able to do a visually guided reach with a more complex item on a more complex background