University of Edinburgh

Ideas to assist visual difficulties due to brain damage

    The following ideas have all been suggested by parents and carers and patients with visual difficulties due to brain problems. Not all the ideas will be useful to everyone. It may be that only one or two of the ideas will actually help to make a difference. We are always looking for more ideas and suggestions to add to this list. Please email ( me if you wish to add any other suggestions or change some of the ideas that you think are wrong or wish to improve upon.
    Kind regards.
    Andrew Blaikie

    Strategies, which were described as proving helpful with activities for daily living

    Problem Approaches Variations / developments
    Difficulty finding clothes

    Hanging vertical wardrobe pockets with the day's clothes inside, stored from bottom up (lower visual field impairment inhibits downward search)
    Hang clothes in groups and colour matched in wardrobe to limit visual confusion

    Place a day's outfit on the one coat hanger.

    Place clothes in accessible drawers eg; tops in top, vests in next drawer, pants next etc (limit the amount in each drawer).

    Place shoes at eye level
    Use best label type eg; real pictures, drawings or colour coded or black and white symbols or numbers eg; 1=pants, 2= vests

    Dress part of child but let them finish rest (easiest articles first)
    Consider a new child-selected outfit to increase motivation when required

    Missing food on plate

    Plain plates without pattern. Use coloured place mat under plate to highlight

    Teach child to turn the plate round

    Keep portions of food separate and don't overlap them

    Provide bright foodstuffs of different colours

    Completing homework independently

    Clear 'work zone' in bedroom and 'walls' round the computer if one is used.

    Use labelled shelves for storing schoolbooks or plastic storage boxes.

    Use spotlights.

    Ensure all school based equipment is also available at home eg; Typoscope, sloping board, magnifying aids

    Cover books with coloured coded paper, symbols or pictures to speed up selection

    Factor in breaks; choose optimum time of day where possible

    The child may need a physical activity prior to settling down

    Difficulty selecting and playing independently with toys

    Keep background plain eg; bedspread, carpets and store in clear boxes.

    Only put a few toys out at one time (rotate them).

    Try clear boxes or labelled toy cupboard with grouped toys on shelves.

    Put pictures or numbers on boxes.

    For younger children, select simple non-complex toys, that is, 2 properties maximum, eg; Post and collect.

    Beware of toys which over stimulate or are too 'busy' or 'noisy'

    Difficulty reading for pleasure

    Ensure optimum print size and font with optimum spacing between words and between lines, not exceeding the amount of text the child can cope with.

    Photocopy and enlarge material.

    Look for clear pictures with not too much detail or clutter.

    Photocopy a few pages at a time and encourage the child to increase the amount to read to provide sense of achievement and increased concentration.
    Compile a 'tailor-made book' for your child which matches the child's perceptual abilities

    Occlude text with a Typoscope, or with a card covering the text which has just been read