March 30, 2012

WBRC Staff First Clinician in the U.S. Qualified as an 'NVT Trainer'

Photo: Niki Sandlan, Service Chief for Blind Rehabilitation Services, and John Kingston, CNVR Supervisor, standing in front of the NVT Light Panel with Mr. Kingston's framed certification as an 'NVT Trainer'.  This is the first NVT Trainer certification obtained by a clinician in the United States.  Photograph by Brian Higgins.

John Kingston, the supervisor of the Comprehensive Neurological Vision Rehabilitation (CNVR) Department at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center has become the first person in the United States to have obtained certification as an NVT Trainer.  This certification will allow Mr. Kingston to train other clinicians at the Department of Veterans Affairs in the use of the NVT system for veteran treatment. 

An excerpt from the letter that accompanied Mr. Kingston's certification follows below:

'On behalf of NVT Systems, Gayle Clarke and Allison Hayes would like to congratulate John on becoming the first clinician in the US to qualify as an “NVT Trainer”… John’s enthusiasm and professionalism is a credit to him and staff trained under his guidance will receive an excellent understanding of the concepts behind the program.  We look forward to supporting John in the future training programs and are confident that his expertise will enable more veterans with neurological vision deficits to maximize the use of their remaining vision, to become as safe and independent as possible.'

What is the NVT system?

Neuro Vision Technology ("NVT") is based upon compensatory scanning training in conjunction with rigorous, standardised assessment of the nature and extent of the Neurological Vision Impairment. 

Veterans with neurological vision loss are assessed and then trained to become familiar with the extent of their field loss and other neuro-visual problems, and to compensate by employing learned scanning strategies to ensure that their remaining visual field is utilized to its best extent. The best scanning strategies in each case depend not only on the origin of the field loss but also on other cognitive and behavioural aspects such as visual neglect and issues with visual processing speed.  This is completed with assessment and training using the NVT Scanning Device.

Photo: The NVT Scanning Device being used for assessment and training for neurological vision loss

What is the NVT Scanning Device?

The NVT Scanning devices consists of coloured lights (LEDs) displayed on a horizontal panel placed at eye level approximately one foot from the patient. The panel of lights is placed centrally and extends to the right and left of the veteran, through the peripheral (or side) vision. In the presence of field loss and other neurological vision deficits the veteran is required to use both head movement and eye movement towards the affected visual field in order to detect the light stimulus.

The device documents the presence of:
  • Neurological vision impairments, such as a homonymous hemianopia, quadrantanopia, relative field loss etc
  • Visual spatial neglect or inattention
  • Speed of visual processing
  • Visual memory
  • Visual spatial deficits

How do you use the device to train veterans?

The results of the functional evaluation then form the basis of a vision training program to improve the veteran's awareness and understanding of the nature of their vision impairment. The NVT Scanning Device is used to teach a pattern of systematic visual search strategies to maximize efficient use of remaining vision. These training exercises use patterns of lights that reinforce an efficient and functional speed of scanning to allow for accurate detection of all stimuli. The aim is to teach the compensatory scanning skill until it becomes an automatic response.  The NVT therapy program then transfers visual scanning strategies established using the NVT Scanning Device into all aspects of activities of daily living and mobility.

CLICK HERE to learn more about WBRC's CNVR Program

CLICK HERE to learn more about the NVT System

CLICK HERE to learn more about the NVT Scanning Device

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