Strategies to Support Learning
I have provided specialist tuition and support to children and adults and have used a range of methods, primarily multisensory, to help them engage and work on their strengths in order to support the weaker areas and develop them.
I have taught and supported individuals in the following areas:
Maths (upto GCSE)
Syllables to separate words (see a range of coloured boards by clicking on image)
I carry out visual overlay screeners if it is felt that the individual is struggling to focus and engage with reading, primarily, although I would always recommend getting an eye test completed in the first instance. If a child or adult is experiencing visual difficulties, such as movement of text on a page, I would recommend seeking professional advice and an assessment via an optometrist who will carry out a thorough colorimetry test.
An undiagnosed visual perceptual difficulty, sometimes referred to as visual stress, can have a major impact on a child's/adult's ability to focus and learn and can often lead to avoidance when reading or writing, even when using a computer, and also behavioural difficulties. Visual difficulties often go unchecked, mainly due to a lack of knowledge or experience.
The images below show what visual perceptual difficulties, or visual stress, can look like when looking at black print on a white backround:
Imagine the difficulty and strain of trying to read when the text is distorted, or moves around the page: nightmare!
This is why I observe the eyes very closely when a child or adult reads from a book, with black print on a white background, or from a computer screen.
Next time your child or a child you may be teaching or supporting in class appears to squint when reading, it would be a good idea to ask them if they can explain why they are squinting, and then make an appointment to get their eyes checked as soon as possible.
I have carried out many overlay screeners and when the correct colour, or combination of colours, is found to work for the individual, the result is amazing and wonderful to see.
It is always advisable to seek professional advice from a trained and qualified optometrist who may recommend that an appointment be made to check for visual difficulties.
Many years ago, when I realised the impact of visual perceptual difficulties on learning and wellbeing, I wrote an article which Bob Hext (founder of Crossbow Education 1992) referred to at a Nasenlive conference.
You can read my article here to help you understand how important it is that the right questions are asked when children start to read.
You can find overlays in a range of colours on Crossbow Education.
Crossbow also has a great range of exercise books in a range of lovely colours.
A pastel colour is often much gentler on the eyes, as white can be very bright and make focusing difficult. You don't have to be diagnosed with visual difficulties for your eyes to appreciate a gentler-coloured background on which to write.
The improvements when using a colour other than white on which to write can be quite staggering:
Longer periods of focus
Better handwriting, generally
Improved thought and creativity
Less stress and anxiety
See the colours here.
Even off-white or cream coloured paper can make a big difference!