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Teaching Counting to Students with CVI

July 24, 2020 No Comments

Teaching Counting to Students with CVI

Teaching students to count often involves the use of manipulatives and images. When teaching counting to students with cortical visual impairment (CVI), there are some modifications that should be considered.


These modifications can include:

  • color preference
  • visual field preference
  • the use of manipulatives.



What MANIPULATIVES can I use when teaching counting to students with CVI?

Using manipulatives such as Unifix cubes, buttons, or pom poms can assist in making the counting task more concrete and visual. When trialing different manipulatives consider the student’s fine motor skills and color preference. There may be some trial and error when determining which manipulatives are best for your student(s).

  • Unifix cubes: These are available in a variety of colors. Unifix cubes are relatively easy to manipulate.
  • Buttons: These are available in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes. Buttons may be slightly more challenging for students to grab than Unifix cubes.
  • Pom poms: These are also available in a variety of colors and sizes. You can also find pom poms that are shiny or sparkly that will grab your student’s attention.

What STRATEGIES can I use?

1. Using a Solid Black Background


  1. Using these manipulatives (while considering the student’s color preference) against a solid, dark background can allow the students to work on quantity. This solid background could be: black felt, black cardstock, or anything else providing a glare-free solid background. I have used black cardstock in my example above.


2. Using my FREE CVI Friendly Ten Frames


  1. The previous step can be taken a step further using my FREE high contrast blank ten-frame, which can be seen in the above image. Using this ten-frame provides the student with a dark background, with a visual reminder of where to place the manipulatives, and can help to make counting easier. You can download my FREE ten-frame template at the end of this blog post.


3. Using my “CVI Series: Counting Adapted Books” for Teaching Counting to Students with CVI


  1. These manipulatives can also be used in tandem with my CVI Series: Counting Adapted Books, shown above.  These books provide not only a dark background but also high contrast 2-D manipulatives. Students can work on matching their manipulatives to the ten-frames in this book; this provides students with a visual prompt to match to as they are counting. Additionally, the skills presented in this book build from previous levels so they can be used over time and with multiple students.

Looking for other high contrast materials that can be beneficial for students with cortical visual impairment? Be sure to check out my other CVI resources- HERE!




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