When students have difficulty processing visual information, it can get in the way of learning. What can teachers use in the classroom to help students with ? Here’s a look at some strategies and tools.
Classroom materials and routines
- Post visual schedules, but also say them out loud.
- Describe visual presentations aloud and/or provide narration.
- Build in time to summarize the important information from each lesson.
- Provide uncluttered handouts with few or no nonessential images.
- Use a reading guide strip or a blank index card to block out other lines of text while reading.
- Provide a highlighter to use to highlight information while reading.
- Provide a slant board (or three-ring binder) to bring work closer to student’s visual field.
- Use audiobooks or text-to-speech software.
- Provide wide-ruled paper and darken or highlight lines and margins to help form letters in the right space.
- Provide graph paper (or lined paper to be used sideways) to help line up math problems.
- Provide a note-taker or a copy of class notes.
- Have loop scissors available to make it easier to control cutting and following a line.
- Provide colored glue sticks to use on white paper.
- Use Wikki Stix to create a border for areas to color or glue.
- Say directions and assignments out loud.
- Clearly space words and problems on a page.
- Write directions in a different color from the rest of an assignment (or highlight them).
- Include simple diagrams or images to help clarify written directions.
- Use highlighting or sticky-note flags to draw attention to important information on worksheets.
- Allow time for the student to ask questions about directions.
Completing tests and assignments
- Allow oral reporting instead of written responses.
- Allow the student to submit answers on a separate sheet of paper rather than on fitting them into small spaces.
- Reduce visual distractions by folding a test or using blank pieces of paper to cover up part of the page.
- Provide extended time on tests.
- Provide a quiet room for tests if needed.
Do you think your child may need accommodations? Explore conversation starters for talking to the teacher about learning differences.
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About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.
Ginny Osewalt is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.