Creating a Visually Friendly Classroom

Posted 4 months ago by John Winstone

Visually Friendly Classroom

For students with visual problems the classroom can often be full of distractions, from the glare of the lights to the oversaturation of information on the walls.

The following are some simple and inexpensive ideas, that could transform the student experience.

Lighting, if there is enough natural light in the classroom there is no need for the glare of florescent lights. Where lighting is required, full spectrum bulbs could be an alternative, these simulate more natural light and as a bonus are more efficient. Where the lighting cannot be changed relocate the student to a different position in the classroom or wear a visor or sunglasses.

A students study position, facing forwards whilst sat at or near the front, in a central location. This position reduces the distractions and allows for a more central field of view. Be careful they are not sat too close to the board.

A workstation facing a window can also create unnecessary glare and cause eye fatigue.

The teachers board is often the focal point for learning and can be a minefield for those with visual issues. An uncluttered board allows for easier concentration, this is the same for any teacher led presentation. The same can be said for the students desk, an uncluttered desk leads to a less cluttered mind.

A good quality worksheet, clearly copied in an easy to read font (style, colour and size) and format. Additional larger font copies could be made available.

For students who find screens and white sheets too bright, photocopy on colour (moderate green or blue) and change the settings on the computer screen to reduce harshness.

Where there is a substantial amount of copying from the board, the student may be given a photocopy, which they then follow with a highlighter as the teacher goes through the information.

The timetable, students are mostly expected to conform and produce work within a certain timeframe, this can be very intimidating for some students, this is where time discretion could be applied. Why not allow a greater completion time for a task. This also applies to testing. Verbal answers may also be accepted rather than solely written.

Being picked to read out loud, imagine the added stress if a student has problems recognising letters and forming words. The student could be asked prior to the event whether they would like to read out loud or not.

Listed below are simple tricks/tools that can help a student at their workstation.

- Use a slant board to increase a student’s field of vision and encourage correct seating posture.
- Use a pencil grip, or fatter pencils.
- Use a highlighter

to highlight text as it is read in class

to highlight each task that needs to be completed

to highlight the bottom half of a line to help with letter sizing when writing

to highlight boxes for students to write an answer, therefore encouraging proper letter sizing and orientation

to highlight the margins of a page so the student can write within the margins.

to highlight the border of shapes to contain colouring

- Use a word window or guide line
- Word windows (cut out)  are simple to make, when the window is placed   over a text the student can move the window to their reading speed, this allows them to concentrate on the word in front of them.
- Question windows may also be used to show individual tasks, allowing the students attention to be focussed on one task at a time.
- Guide line, a straight edge of paper, card or an opaque ruler may be positioned under the line or task that needs to be completed.
- Use graph paper to help with the space of letter or math problems
- Prompts
- Wear a watch or other item, on one wrist to prompt any left right responses
- Use arrows for direction of letter placement
- Letter strips may be used to assist with letter formation recall

We are here to help in whichever way we can. If there is any questions you have, don’t hesitate to contact our Vision Therapist at visiontherapy@ocula.co.nz

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