Hyper-visual: Resources or equipment to support
If you or someone you know is hypersensitive to visual sensory information, what exactly can you give them or provide for them to help? Most of it depends on the individual and their specific needs, but in this post I hope to give some things that can be used to help with hyper-visual needs.
- Sunglasses – this is an obvious one I know, but providing an individual with sunglasses and teaching them how to recognise when they need to put them on can be invaluable. If the individual needs to wear sunglasses in the classroom sometimes then so be it, if it helps them then what does it matter? Obviously it’s not a good idea to wear sunglasses all the time so make sure the individual has some places they can go and be without needing to wear them.
- Irlen glasses – Glasses with coloured lenses. A tricky one, because it can be very difficult to assess whether someone would benefit from the use of Irlen glasses. This is one where you’re going to need to get someone (an Occupational Therapist) to assess whether they’re needed. You might go down this investigative route if you notice that an individual appears calmer when in certain coloured rooms or under certain coloured lighting.
- Different coloured paper or overlays – Tied to the same sensory processing as Irlen glasses, some people read and write better when they are given paper other than white or off-white to write and read from. This one is much easier to check though, just try it out and if it seems to work based on your data collection then carry on using that coloured paper.
- Black out tent – Essentially a pop-up tent that is made from material designed to block out light. Inside is completely dark once the windows and doors are rolled down. These can be especially useful for hyper-visual individuals, and providing time in here may help them to self-regulate and avoid experiencing sensory overload and meltdowns.
- Sensory swing – Same sort of concept as the black out tent, except they are usually heavier material in a sort of “scooped up” hammock style so that both ends are tied up high and the swing is like a pouch. As well as blocking out visual input, this can simultaneously provide proprioreceptive input for the individual as well.
- Individual work station – I get that it doesn’t look like traditional inclusion, but if the option of working at one of these stations in the classroom is available then hyper-visual students can benefit from the lack of distracting visual information in front of them.
- Desk dividers – Less cumbersome than individual workstations, these can be put on and taken off of desks to help reduce the visual information that is competing for a student’s attention.
- Sheet to limit information on page – I’m sure there’s a name for this but, essentially an A5/A4 piece of paper that has a section cut out so that the individual only has to focus on a small amount of text or information at once.
I will be making a post in the future with a list of different places to buy these sorts of resources, so if you want you can send me any links you have (UK and International) and I’ll add them in.
Until next time.
Disclaimer: The opinions and information provided in this post are my own, and based on personal, educational, and work-based experience. They do not reflect the opinions of any of the authors of the content referenced in this post. I am not affiliated or supported by any organisation, and this is meant to be an educational series of posts. The information posted here is not a substitute for advice and information provided by your own GP, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or other professional in the field of autism, and should not be taken as such.