How I see

Posted on: 3rd November 2015

16 year old Alfie’s video portrays what it’s like to be him

About Alfie

Alfie has cerebral visual impairment (CVI), which affects his daily life including his ability to read and write, recognise people, communicate, move around and carry out tasks. CVI is caused by the brain not correctly processing information received from the eyes.

To get around his difficulties with reading and writing at school, Alfie created a number of films and video essays for school projects. His mum Kerry says, “It’s easier for Alfie to express himself using imagery.”

“One of his older sisters studied film at university and Alfie took an interest in film from then on,” says Kerry. “He used to have a support worker who was very good with computers and he helped Alfie start to make his own films by editing clips together.”

Kerry is a trustee for the Cerebral Visual Impairment Society, who asked Alfie to make a video for their inaugural convention on 18 September 2015, portraying his experience of having CVI.

About the video

The film is a conceptual, rather than a realistic, depiction of how Alfie sees – for example, a wavy motion effect on a still image of cars represents his difficulty distinguishing stationary cars from moving cars. “It’s very difficult for people to understand what it’s like to have CVI if you don’t have a visual impairment,” says Kerry, “so it’s better to try to show them than to tell them.”

Alfie posted his video on YouTube at the start of September and it has since gained over 2000 ‘likes’ and some really positive comments. He has also received amazing feedback from people who attended the CVI convention, including Professor Gordon Dutton of Glasgow Caledonian University: “As a children’s ophthalmologist who has looked after young and older people with your type of vision for over 20 years, I was blown away by your autobiographical film portraying your vision and its impact.”

“Alfie’s really happy and a bit stunned at the response it’s had,” says Kerry.

Alfie plans to follow in his sister’s footsteps and study film in further education. “He just wants to keep making films and tell the world about CVI,” says Kerry. The CVI Society has already asked Alfie to make another film for their next convention in 2016.