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 author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.
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.