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Visual Processing Disorder

There are eight different types of visual processing issues and students can have more than one! Vision tests are still passed, making it difficult to detect the disorder. 

1. Visual discrimination - Difficulty seeing the difference between two similar letters, shapes or objects. So they may mix up letters, confusing d and b, or p and q. 

2. Visual figure-ground discrimination - Students may not be able to pull out a shape or character from its background. They may have trouble finding a specific piece of information on a page. 

3. Visual sequencing - Difficulty telling the order of symbols, words, or images. They may struggle to write answers on a separate sheet or skip lines when reading. They may also reverse or misread letters, numbers and words. 

4. Visual-motor processing - Students may have difficulty writing within the lines or margins. They may bump into things and have trouble copying from a book. 

5. Long- or short-term visual memory - Difficulty recalling what they've seen, which causes struggles with reading and spelling. They may also have trouble remembering what they've read and using a calculator or keyboard. 

6. Visual-spatial - Difficulty telling where objects are in space, how far things are from them and from each other. It also includes objects and characters described on paper or in spoken narrative. Students may also have a tough time reading maps and judging time. 

7. Visual closure - Difficulty identifying an object when only parts are visible. They may not recognize a truck if it's missing its wheels. A cloze exercise would be difficult for a student having visual closure issues. 

8. Letter and symbol reversal - Students tend to switch letters or numbers when writing, or make letter substitutions after age 7. They may also have trouble with letter formation that affects reading, writing and math skills. 

Symptoms 

 * doesn't pay attention to visual tasks
 * easily distracted y too much visual information
 * restless or inattentive during video or visual presentations
 * lacks interest in movies
* has difficulty with tasks that require copying notes from board
* reverses or misreads letters, numbers and words
* bumps into things
* difficulty writing within lines or margins
* has trouble spelling familiar words with irregular spelling patterns
* can't remember phone numbers
* poor reading comprehension when reading silently
* can't remember basic facts when read silently
* skips words or entire lines when reading, or reads the same sentence over
* complains of eye strain or frequently rubs eyes
* has below-average reading comprehension and writing skills, despite strong oral comprehension and verbal skills
* has weak math skills; frequently ignores function signs, omits steps, and confuses visually similar formulas
* routinely fails to observe or recognize changes I bulletin board

Movement is important to Learning!!!

Activities to assist with coordination, object control, body awareness or spatial awareness:    
* Use balloons to catch
* Use large exercise balls
* Use a ball on a string
* Have students catch a ball rolling down a ramp or chute
* Use a bounce pass and say the students' name

Activities that assist with attention and motivation
* Provide short and clear instructions
* Assign small tasks
* Use bright objects
* Include word walls and instructional cards for each activity
* Eliminate distractions
* Post a students' personal goal where they can refer to it
* Include a student's sports and games that student enjoys
* Keep a consistent class structure

Physical education supports the development of 3 critical learning areas, cognitive, psychomotor, and affective! (Adapted Physical Education, "2012; Bailey, 2006; Burgeson 2004") Keep them moving!!
Autism Awareness Month! 

Continuing on with Autism Awareness Month, please be aware of those students of yours that hear a lawn mower in the distance and have shut down because the noise is too distracting or actually may be hurting their ears. Some sounds for students with autism can be very distracting.  
Use Task Analysis – very specific, tasks in sequential order Break down larger tasks, project-based or cumulative-based Always keep your language simple and concrete. Get your point across in as few words as possible. Typically, it’s far more effective to say “Pens down, close your journal and line up to go outside” than “It looks so nice outside. Let’s do our science lesson now. As soon as you’ve finished your writing, close your books and line up at the door. We’re going to study plants outdoors today”. Teach specific social rules/skills, such as turn-taking and social distance. Give fewer choices. If a child is asked to pick a color, say red, only give him two to three choices to pick from. The more choices, the more confused an autistic child will become. Avoid using sarcasm. If a student accidentally knocks all your papers on the floor and you say “Great!” you will be taken literally and this action might be repeated on a regular basis.(Remember last weeks' Tips!) Avoid using idioms. “Put your thinking caps on”, “Open your ears” and “Zipper your lips” will leave a student completely mystified and wondering how to do that. (Remember last weeks' Tips!) Give very clear choices and try not to leave choices open ended. You’re bound to get a better result by asking “Do you want to read or draw?” than by asking “What do you want to do now?” Repeat instructions and checking understanding. Using short sentences to ensure clarity of instructions. Teaching what “finished” means and helping the student to identify when something has finished and something different has started. Take a photo of what you want the finished product to look like and show the student. If you want the room cleaned up, take a picture of how you want it to look some time when it is clean. The students can use this for a reference. Addressing the pupil individually at all times (for example, the pupil may not realize that an instruction given to the whole class also includes him/her. Calling the pupil’s name and saying “I need you to listen to this as this is something for you to do” can sometimes work; other times the pupil will need to be addressed individually). Using various means of presentation – visual, physical guidance, peer modeling, etc. Recognizing that some change in manner or behavior may reflect anxiety (which may be triggered by a [minor] change to routine) or aggressive behavior personally; and recognizing that the target for the pupil’s anger may be unrelated to the source of that anger. Avoid overstimulation. Minimizing/removal of distracters, or providing access to an individual work area or booth, when a task involving concentration is set. Colorful wall displays can be distracting for some pupils, others may find noise very difficult to cope with. Allowing some access to obsessive behavior as a reward for positive efforts.

Keeping the ADHD student on task in the classroom and at home

* Reduce the length of assignments so that student does not lose interest.

* Present the assignment in parts (e.g., 5 math problems at a time).Give reinforcement for each completed part before giving the next segment of the task (verbal positive feedback,) or have the student mark off his/her progress on a chart.

* Keep unstructured time to a minimum.

* Allow the student to use learning aides, computers, calculators (perhaps for different parts of the task).

* Allow the student to manipulate an object as long as s/he attends and is on task. Allow the pupil to bend a pipe cleaner or paper clip, or handle another non distracting item.

* To block out distractions on a page, create a "window" in a piece of card board that exposes only one or two lines of print.

* Provide some choice or variation in assignments to maintain the student's attention.

* Use a peer mentor to help student stay on-task.

* Motivate the youngster by having him/her "race against the clock" to finish the task (or part of it).

* Allow the student to stand or walk with a clipboard as long as s/he remains on task.

Making lessons more interesting

* Devise interesting activities.

* Use examples that capitalize on the student's interests.

* Involve the student's interests in assignments.

* Ensure that your style of presentation is enthusiastic and interesting.

* Use game formats to teach and/or reinforce concepts and material.

* Use concrete objects to assist in keeping the student's attention.

* Incorporate movement into lessons.

Memory assistance

* Have the student progress through the following steps while

learning: See it, say it, write it, do it.

* Teach memory techniques and study strategies

Memory Challenge For You:

Here is a fun exercise to challenge your long-term memory: Go ahead and name all your teachers from elementary school, beginning with kindergarten, then middle school, then high school!

"If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn." -- Ignacio Estrada