Lee Blemings, Sensory Guru and Lisa Donaldson, SeeAbility, spoke about environment and lighting essentials. They discussed how the environment can impact a child’s ability to access the classroom and what steps can be taken to optimise the environment for access and learning.
Many classrooms use a lot of screen based equipment, ranging from whiteboards to iPads.
For some children who have issues with visual processing, too much stimulation can cause them to shut off.
An ideal environment has minimal peripheral clutter. This helps when you’re trying to engage a child with a task. The child is sensorily engaged in the task rather than what is going on around them.
This can obviously be challenging where classrooms are full of children. However, it is vital to set up the environment to a level that they are able to access.
One simple rule for environments used by people with visual impairments is big, bold and bright.
Keep things large, high in contrast and bright. It is also important to minimise visual clutter that might be going on in the background.
Some children might struggle with moving targets, others may have real difficulty as soon as things lower in contrast. So, sticking to principals of big, bold and bright will help those with difficulties access their environment.
Lighting can be massively affecting on the environment and how a child accesses that environment.
You want to aim for even lighting, with minimal glare.
Windows can cause glare and reflections on screen-based activities. This reduces the level of resolution that a child can access. Installing blinds can help filter sunlight and control lighting levels.
Strip lighting can also negatively impact how a child experiences their environment as some can detect the flicker. Good, even lighting and task lighting without glare is vital.
Environment and lighting essentials:
- Minimise visual clutter
- Tailor the environment to meet visual needs
- Make the environment high contrast and bright
- Make sure lighting is even with minimal glare
- Reduce window reflections
- Sometimes children can detect the flicker in strip lighting