University of Edinburgh

Low Vision Aids

by Heather Mason

Examples of use of scanning skills in and out of the classroom situation are:

  • searching indexes, contents in atlases
  • looking up words in dictionaries (English and other languages)
  • reading thermometer
  • looking for information contained in a graph or complex tables
  • 'looking' at maps, illustrations, work sheets, mathematical problems
  • copying down information from the blackboard
  • scanning crossroad to find traffic light
  • scanning a department store directory to find where certain products are sold
  • finding dropped articles on the floor
  • locate birds or kites in the sky
  • locate friend in a crowded room

Distance activities using a telescope or binoculars may include:

  • looking at static pictures on the wall, tops of trees, interesting parts of buildings,
  • looking at moving boats on the lakes and sea, animals in the zoos, children playing, birds on a bird table outside the classroom, traffic, etc,
  • playing games based on the above activities, eg; I Spy, reading car numbers, how many....can you see, finding different object 'hidden' around a room, etc
  • encourage the observation of your facial expressions and them imitate them, eg; happy, angry, sad, bored,
  • encourage the use of LVAs during out-of-school visits, eg; museums, sporting events, concerts,
  • encourage copying skills from the blackboard by writing up jokes.

Fun activities for secondary pupils which include training elements:

Near distance activities

  • looking for specific information in sports pages or fashion pages of newspapers and magazines,
  • play board and card games,
  • reading bus/train timetables as part of mobility lessons, for travelling to and from school or when planning a trip,
  • reading cooking instructions on food for microwave,
  • making an address book for friends by looking up names in the telephone directory,
  • plan a route to a favourite place, eg; cinema by using the A to Z,
  • read instruction manuals for computers or new appliances, eg; CD players,
  • make a chart to compare reading speeds using the magnifier with different sized print,
  • encourage the use on field trips and to share findings with friends.

Suggested activities for use with preschool and primary and early secondary aged pupils using a magnifier:

  • looking at a variety of objects, eg; stamps, money, fossils, leaves, insects, flowers, illustrations in books,
  • simple games, eg; connecting up the dots to make a pictures, simple mazes, finding the odd one out or spotting thedifferences between two pictures,
  • play board games such as Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Cluedo, Lotto (numbers and words),
  • reading comics, age appropriate magazines, menus, CD or tape cases.

Distance viewing activities using monocular or binocular devices:

  • identify makes of stationary cars,
  • identify pop stars from posters on the wall,
  • as part of mobility lessons, identify safe times to cross at pelican crossings,
  • on a visit to shopping precincts, identify different shops, eg; Bodyshop,
  • visit a large railway or bus station and read lists of arrivals and departures,
  • spot bus numbers on both stationary and moving buses - link up with bus stops,
  • identify road names from across the road,
  • identify signs in supermarkets and locate different produce,
  • locate a player in a sporting event,
  • make a chart to compare speeds of copying material from a blackboard or reading speeds over a period of time,
  • use in museums, exhibitions to read information or to scan objects.

Activities for parents to encourage at home:

  • make sure CCTV is readily accessible for homework and leisure activities,
  • encourage their use by making it part of a,normal event to look at something in detai,l eg; football league tables, instructions on various labels, TV programme information, putting on make-up, watch TV or as part of a hobby, eg; stamp collecting, making models,
  • watching birds on a table in the garden and a bird book in the house near the window can be an excellent way to encourage use of a distance and near LVA,
  • visit one of the RSPB's (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Reserves and see hi-tech LVAs being used by everyone!
  • encourage: spotting of bus numbers or prices in the supermarket or petrol station - make it into a game; use of LVAs when on holiday, eg; viewing scenery, illuminations, sporting events, finding road numbers and signs or using a compass and ordnance survey map when walking.