When trying to get learners with autism or a visual loss to really focus on you or the activity, it’s worth looking around your room and following these five quick and easy visual points:
- Look out for visual glare in the room. Some learners with visual impairments will not work well with bright light. The same applies to many with autism. Glare is not just distracting but can be overwhelming for some.
- Look out for reflections, which can be distracting. Even little things can completely take over somebody’s attention and it’s not just glass, other shiny things can also be attention grabbers.
- Don’t create too much visual clutter. Although schools have a tradition of showing people’s work on the walls, this is an attention killer for many learners with autism and it’s confusing for those with a visual loss. You don’t have to take it all down but have a clear wall or space.
- Create good clear colour contrasts between walls, floors, doors and furniture. This will help learners with their spatial awareness. Lots of people focus on the movements system when working with autism but vision is your major coordinating sense and contributes massively to your vestibular and proprioceptive systems.
- If you want to find out if a learner has a visual loss or somebody with autism is having difficulty making sense of the visual world, just keep moving furniture and other things around. This can destroy a learner’s confidence when they have become used to a space. If possible, leave things where they are, and life will be so much calmer for many learners.