Vision and Communication Research


About the FunViS Project

Our study was designed to assess the functional vision in children who have:

  •     cerebral palsy affecting the whole body;
  •     little or no functional speech;
  •     a developmental age of approximately 9 months to 6 years;
  •     chronological age 4 to 10 years.

What is functional vision?

Functional vision describes the use our vision for activities of daily living. This can be affected by the overall quality of our vision as well as the way in which we utilise that vision. For example, when a child looks for their favourite toy and moves towards it.


Children with cerebral palsy affecting their whole body, who also struggle to produce intelligible speech, rely heavily on their looking skills and vision to interact with the world around them and to learn. Because we know that this group of children can be at risk of experiencing a range of visual difficulties it is absolutely essential to be able to identify those children who do and do not have difficulties with their looking skills.


The fact that some children with cerebral palsy are having difficulties with their vision can sometimes be difficult to spot. The aim of this project is to establish a new, simple and rapid assessment of functional near vision specifically designed for young children with cerebral palsy affecting their whole body. Based on a short set of structured observations and some key questions for parents/carers, the aim of the procedure is to identify quickly those children who may be experiencing difficulties with using their vision for everyday activities. Children who are identified by the assessment as possibly having difficulties with their functional use of vision can be referred for detailed follow-up assessment of vision and learning.