Using Everyday Objects in Unexpected Ways to Encourage Visual Attention and Exploration with Students Who Have Low Vision or Cortical Visual Impairment
Date Posted: 06/28/2011Traditional toys and play areas are often too complex and visually overwhelming for children with low vision and/or cortival visual impairment (CVI). Here is one standard play area that you can easily adapt to meet your student's needs. Your student can lie down and explore hanging and/or mounted items independently. We find that everyday objects can often be more compelling for our students and may help to increase their visual interest, attention, and exploration. This modification, inspired by one of our creative parents, capitalizes on the concept of the Little Room developed by Dr. Lili Nielsen, the pioneer in an area of learning known as Active Learning. Dr. Nielsen's Little Room is a box-like environment (2 feet high x 2 feet wide x 3 feet long) with three walls, a bottom and a clear top and a sound resonating board. Interesting materials are suspended or mounted from the top or walls of the Little Room so that as the child moves their body, they naturally interact with the objects around them. Lili Nielsen Little Room is available from LiliWorks Catalog.
Modifying a Store-Bought Play Area
You can create your own Little Room: Adapt a Baby's Play Place with black fabric to create an instant Little Room!
Three Steps to Modifying Your Own Play Place
- Set up your Play Place according to the instructions in the box.
- Begin by covering the bottom and sides of the Play Place with soft, black fabric. If you can Velcro the black fabric to the Play Place to keep it snuggly in place, that will be best.
- Replace the objects that come with the Play Place with your student's favorite objects. Simply hang objects that entice your student visually and tactually. You might hang a Slinky from the top that your student can reach up and touch. You can place soft, crinkly items on the sides or by their feet so that when the child moves they easily come into contact with the objects.
Gail Feld, BESB Preschool TVI
Gigi Whitford, BESB Special Services TVI