Newsletter 2 - Austin Assessment in Action

In our second newsletter, Nicola shares her research on supporting children with CVI related visual issues in mainstream schools. We also hear from a Mum in New Zealand who used the Austin Assessment with her son Oscar and the difference it made for them.
3 May 2024
Nicola McDowell
Nichola and Lachie from Springload looking at cards placed in a table. They look like working on the app creation. There are also notebooks, coffee cups and stationery on top of the table.

Newsletter from Dr Nicola McDowell, Austin Assessment Founder.

Hello and welcome to our second newsletter.

To validate the Austin Assessment, in total we assessed over nine hundred children aged between five and eighteen. As expected, the Austin Assessment Screening Test identified children who may have visual difficulties related to CVI. To check the results, experts including an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) assessed the children with positive Austin Assessment results. Of those identified, I put together a small research project to learn from their parents and teachers about the journey from identification of possible CVI, through learning and support. Importantly, I included looking at emotional needs and support, an area previous CVI research as far as I was aware, had not covered. All the children had issues with emotional regulation and all struggled with anxiety. Similar to previous findings, nearly all had difficulties learning and with friendships.

I worked closely with the parents and teachers, and the pattern was similar for nearly all the children. Difficulties had been identified, most had considered other conditions including dyslexia, ADHD and autism, none had heard of CVI, and with learning and support, all the children improved.

This work was recently featured on CVI Scotland here.

I recently received a wonderful account of the Austin Assessment doing exactly what I designed it to do, from a New Zealand mother. Oscar is thirteen. When Oscar was nine he was found to have a learning disability. His parents were advised to have his visual perception assessed, but this would require a costly appointment with a specialist outside of their region. This wasn’t an option for them, so they instead focused on becoming experts in his learning disability, navigating the school system and advocating for his needs. By chance, they discovered the Austin Assessment and realised it could indicate whether Oscar had CVI related visual issues, without the time and considerable expense of travelling to a specialist outside their region. The Austin Assessment was positive, and using our support links, Oscar is now getting the support he needs and is improving.

To read about Oscar’s journey, check it out in the news section of our website here.

What’s New?

We have more payment options. You can now request an invoice and transfer payment for packs of screening tests from any country. To request an invoice, please complete this form.

We are always listening to see where we can make improvements.  If you have any ideas or have had any issues, we want to hear from you. Email us at

Warm regards


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